The art of bluffing is an important part of poker. Better yet, knowing how to bluff in poker can secure you a quick profit and force a less experienced opponent to back down. Even at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) tables, though, bluffing is still a powerful ally. Yet, executing it properly as an advanced player, takes a lot of skill.
Today, we will look at the concept of ‘bluff poker’ in general and see if you can apply that to the Internet. Online poker bluffing is actually possible but it takes a different dynamic and mindset.
The good news is that most skills related to bluffing in poker are learnable and transferable from private poker games to online poker games and vice versa.
Armed with this new knowledge, you will soon be able to overcome opponents who hold arguably better hands than yours in any type of poker contest you join.
How to Bluff in Poker
A bluff usually comes down to playing a weak hand convincingly enough to force a player with a stronger to fold and make you a quick buck. Yet, to bluff, you need to establish a reputation. Whether you are trying online poker bluffing or playing face-to-face, opponents must know what you are capable of.
Poker Bluffing Tips
Poker is a lot about statistics and experience. You can either read the table or read the player. Ideally, you will want to read both. Players looking to set themselves apart will know how to concentrate. In other words, you can’t afford to miss any pieces of information. ‘Bluff poker’ is all about reading what’s going in front of your eyes. In general, you ought to look for several things.
- Analyze Weaknesses in Your Opponent
You can often spot some aberration in your opponent’s behavior and exploit this. Of course, this is a purely subjective metric and relies on a combination of knowledge and gut feeling.
- Play Consistently to Confuse Opponents
Some players are known as ‘maniacs’ and they bluff without any checks. However, this is a poor strategy. You would rather want to only bluff when you have the hands to back it up or have seen opponents show weakness.
- Back Your Bluff with a Value Hand
Even if you are bluffing, it never hurts to actually have a slightly better hand than your opponent. Try to bluff with value hands instead of playing mind games.
- How Long Does It Take for an Opponent to Decide?
Delays in the usual decision-making process of a player may betray hesitance and therefore a weaker hand. Learn to use this.
- Don’t Commit too Much into Your Bluff
A bad bluff can turn against you, but it’s even worse to pursue a lost cause. Abandon your bluff if you can’t see it bringing you any dividends.
- Bluff Smartly with Your Money
There is no need to raise the pot by 1000% per single hand. Instead, play considerately and make sure you always stop on top of developments. Bluff enough money to stay in the game and not lose too much.
- Make Sure You Can Read Hands Well
It’s not just about what your hole cards show. It’s about what your opponents have. Keep an eye on your opponents’ behaviour and build up that repertoire of how they play so you can make increasingly accurate judgements on their hands.
- Keep On Learning
To end on a cheesy note it is nonetheless true. Even professional players insist on continuous learning for this zero-sum game we all love especially when it comes to more approachable singular facets you can focus concentrated learning on finding tips and strategies on, such as mastering your poker face, bluffing and so on.
Biggest Poker Bluff Ever
Pinpointing the best bluff in poker history can be a little challenging at first, but there surely is plenty of material to work around with. One absolutely genius play and perhaps one of the best poker bluffs there is when bluffing expert Tom “Durrr” Dwan went up against Barry Greenstein and Peter Eastgate in a three-way pot.
Dwan was holding Q and 10 versus Greenstein’s A’s pair, and Eastgate’s 4 and 2. By any estimate, trying to rise with a Q and 10 isn’t too foolhardy, but when you know that your opponent is Greenstein and he only raises when he has a strong hand might be a little unwise.
Yet, there was nothing miscalculated in Dwan’s behavior. The flop produced 2, 10, 2, giving Eastgate triple 2’s now. Greenstein is of course not folding his pair of A’s so he is rising by $10,000. Alright, but Dwan is actually throwing in another $37,300.
But players seem unimpressed, though as they follow up and call Dwan’s play. The turn reveals a 7 and Dwan plonks down another $104,200 to the dismay of both Eastgate and Einstein. They eventually fold, because they do not want to commit anything more to meet Dwan’s appetite.
Now, you may think Dwan was bluffing, but he wasn’t. He knew Greenstein well and knew that he was holding at least a pair of K’s when he started pressuring him. Dwan also explored a reverse psychology anticipating his opponent to misread his bluff as a strong hand and they did.
Of course, Greenstein and Eastgate did smell a rat at first, but gunning against a rising start at the time such as Dwan didn’t come with its own sort of mental pressure, so eventually, both caved in. In any event, this is definitely one of poker’s biggest bluffs.
Worst Poker Bluffs
Of course, bluffing can always go wrong. Whether you play in person or online, you will often find a few situations where a bluff just didn’t go the way you thought it would and you ended up too deep to withdraw. It’s important to learn from your own and others’ mistakes to avoid these embarrassing situation.
Now, perhaps the best example of the worst poker bluff is provided by Viktor Blom, a player known for his loose and aggressive play style that often ends up with a few successful hands. Yet, on that one time, Viktor Blom’s plan didn’t really pan out.
Blom who was 18 at the time opened with a K and 2 versus Ian Munns’ A and 7. The flop comes with A, A, and 3, which means Munns is now in the lead and comfortably so. However, Blom decides to go ahead and places a huge 3-bet.
Do you remember when we cautioned you to back your bluffs with value hands? There was none of that in Blom’s decision. Then, Munns bids his time and he goes 4-bets to try and lure Blom into another hasty decision.
Blom takes the bait and ends up with an empty bankroll, throwing him out of the event. A lesson was learnt by the young Swede, and the hard way at that.
Epic Poker Bluff
So far as good ‘bluff poker’ goes, we definitely should take a moment and mention Phil Ivey’s outstanding game versus Paul Jackson. It’s one of the most epic bluffs we have in poker history and definitely worth a look at.
This is still early into Ivey’s career at the 2005 Monte Carlo millions with $1 million going to the winner of the event. Jackson has an impressive 4:1 chip lead putting him well ahead of Ivey.
Both players’ cards are dealt and Jackson comes in hot with 6 and 5 and Ivey has a Q and 8. The flop reveals 7, J, and J, and so the game can go pretty much any way from this point on. Players start throwing re-raises without having much of the cards backing them.
Yet, Ivey doesn’t give up until the very last moment, pushing a quick all in and sending a clear challenge to Jackson who falters and flops, knowing full too well Ivey’s reputation and the strength of his own hand.
‘Bluff Catcher’ in Poker
If you are playing live poker, you probably don’t want to play fast-and-loose with Phil Ivey or Chris Moneymaker. Now, when it comes to online poker bluffing, you will definitely have a little more leeway to be a bit testier.
However, you ought to be familiar with the term “bluff catcher.” This is a hand that isn’t strong, but once you read a player’s bluff, you can use even a low-value hand to try and bust your opponent.
Now, the downside is that you evidently don’t want to go on a merry-go-around with this type of hand, but if your opponent is way out on a limb, you will certainly appreciate the opening and look to punish their cheekiness.