Bluffing is a key strategy in poker. A good bluff can make or break any hand. You can have the worst hand in the world, but with a good bluff, you can come out on top and win the pot. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you make the choice to bluff or not.
1. It is easier to bluff in a late position. Late position is when you are one of the last few to either bet or call in a betting round. If everyone has folded or checked, then it is a good time to bluff. Also, bluffing early is never recommended because you have no idea what the other players have.
2. Learn to read people. Pay close attention to how the other players react to their cards, what they do, and what their cards are if they end up showing. This is the hardest and most effective skill you can learn in poker. Other than luck, which is completely out of your control, reading people will greatly improve your game.
3. If you read that the player wants to fold, betting big will give them a reason to fold. Now this is tricky because players can slow play you and be leading you into a trap. This is where a good read comes in. Base your call on the player's previous actions and cards.
4. If there's a possibility of anyone having a good hand based on the flop, turn, or river, then it's a good time to bluff. Hopefully, this tricks other players into thinking you have a great hand. Be careful when you use this because if you do not do this in late position, someone else may actually have a better hand that beats yours.
5. If you were caught bluffing in a previous hand, but now actually have a good hand, use that to your advantage. Other players will think you're bluffing and bet big to push you out or think they'll win big if they do, but you know better.
6. Use caution when bluffing a bad player, as they do not know when they are beat. They can keep coming at you so make sure you have something going in with them. If you do not, you may lose big to someone with a little more luck than you.
7. Bluff in a pattern that no one can catch on. This will throw off your scent and keep other players guessing.
8. Bluff in high limit games. This works to your advantage by allowing you to bet as big as you want, leaving you in complete control of how much you want to "scare" other players. Low limit games limit your bets, thus limiting your bluffing power.
9. Bluff only when you've got a good read on the players that are currently in. If you do not, then do not bluff because there's too much of a chance someone may have a good hand.
10. The best thing you can learn about bluffing is when to not bluff. If you are unsure about the situation and your "gut" tells you that you should not, then just do not bluff. Only bluff when you are completely sure you have a good chance of coming out on top.
In basic terms, bluffing is making other players believe you have a great hand, when in reality, you have the worst hand on the table. A good bluff will make even the greatest hands fold to the worst of hands. While there's no real structured and defined way to bluff, following these tips will help you develop your own method of bluffing. It's all in your hands.