Bluffing is to bet or raise with a hand that can be beaten in the hopes that the other players will assume that you have a strong hand and will fold. There are also circumstances in which a player might bluff that he has a weak hand, when in fact he is holding a strong hand. Bluffing is a skill and when used well it can help you to win a large pot of money. However, if you are a poor bluffer, bluffing can work against you and you will lose more than you could gain. There are different types of bluffing.
Pure Bluff - A pure bluff is to bet or raise with a low hand that has no chance of improving. A player will make a pure bluff only if he feels that the only hope of him winning the pot is by all the other players folding their hands.
Semi Bluff - A semi bluff is when the player bluffs on one round with an inferior hand that may improve in later rounds. The player who makes a semi bluff is hoping that either he will draw a card in a later round to improve his hand or that all of his opponents will fold.
Poker Bluffing Tips & Strategies
Bluff if a Card on the Board may have made a Good Hand - If a card on the board has the potential to help a player make a good hand, bluff as if it is you. It is quite possible that the other players will believe you in the circumstances.
Bluff if you Know another Player may Fold - Often there are other players in the game who are looking for a reason to fold. If you know of any players like this, you can bet big making them think that you hold a strong hand, which will encourage them to fold.
Do not Bluff too Often - If you bluff too often, the others players will make a mental note of it and the next time that you bluff they will be likely to call you. On the other hand, you can use this to your advantage. If, soon after bluffing, you find yourself with a strong hand, the other players are likely to think you are just bluffing again and they will call your bets. A good bluffing tactic involves having a bluffing pattern that the other players will find difficult to spot.
Bluff at High Limit Tables - High limit or no limit games are ideal for bluffing. In low limit games, the bets are such small amounts that it is more likely that another player will call your bet. There is little or no advantage to bluffing in low limit games.
Bluff at Tight Tables - Bluffing is more likely to be successful at tight tables than at loose tables. You can bluff at mixed tables if all of the loose players have already folded their hands.
Wait to Bluff until you are sure of the Outcome - You are more likely to be successful in your bluffing if you bluff from a late position than if you bluff too early in the game. If you bluff too early, you will have no idea what the other players hold and bluffing could work against you.
There are certain situations when it is ideal to bluff, if this is a skill that you are good at. These include:
You are playing at a tight table.
There are not many people left in the game.
You are a conservative player and the other players sense the pattern of your play.
You cards did not improve on the flop.
You are sure that all of the other players hold weak hands.
You are playing at high limit tables.
There are also circumstances in which it is not a good idea to bluff. These include:
You have recently bluffed and the other players are likely to have realized and call your bluff this time.
You are playing against a large number of players.
You have poor bluffing skills.
It is too early to be sure of the other players' cards.