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What is a Poker Bluff?

Poker Bluffs - Bluffing a Pot

by Shirley Rosario
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Poker Bluff
Bluff - A wager with a hand that is unlikely to win if called.


A bluff is a wager made with a hand that is probably a loser, with the intention of getting all of your opponents to fold. In any game that you play in, you are likely to see many large pots won without a call, by relatively small bets. This creates a huge incentive to bluff. If you can predict when your opponents can not call, you can simply bet and take the pot, regardless of what your hand is. Another reason to bluff is that bluffing has great advertising value. If your bluff is successful, you will win the pot. If you get caught, your opponents will brand you as a bluffer, and give you action in the future, when you do have a hand. Also, you need to consider what happens to your action if you never bluff. Every time that you bet, your opponents will know that you have a strong hand and they will not pay you off. In short, learning to bluff is essential to becoming a winning player, especially at middle and high limits.

Of course, when and how you bluff are critical factors in the success rate of your bluffs. There are some situations where you should usually bluff, and other situations where bluffing is hopeless. Generally, you want to bluff when you sense that your opponent is weak or on an unmade draw. You should try to bluff tight players and players who appear genuinely disinterested in the current hand. You should not try to bluff players who have shown a lot of strength, or loose players who seem to have moderate to strong hands. Extremely loose players can be almost “unbluffable.” Even bluffing into a busted draw can be dangerous against the loosest players because they may call with Ace high or King high.

Usage: Show A Bluff, Bluff Off Your Stack, Bluff the Pot, Bluffing

See also: Buy the Pot

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(c) Shirley Rosario

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