A little article I came across,
Factors to Consider When Bluffing in No Limit Holdem
Bluffing is a important weapon in any no limit poker player's arsenal - but just like any other play, it should only be deployed after a reasonable amount of calculation and consideration. A brief list of some of the factors that should impact your decision:
1) How many players are you up against? I know, this seems more than obvious, but there's simple math at work that too many people ignore - the more players in the hand, the more likely it becomes that someone will have something worth calling with.
2) How many reasons would an opponent have to call your bluff? There's a big difference between bluffing into a flop of Q72 rainbow [all different suits] and a flop of QsJs7h. The more potential reasons the board gives an opponent to call you [in this case, likely flush draws, straight draws, or middle/low pair with a redraw hands] the less likely your bluff will succeed.
3) Where do your opponents fall on a general passive to aggressive scale? When you're last to act and everyone checks to you, knowing your opponents is crucial in determining whether or not to pull the trigger. Aggressive players tend to bet their hands more often than not [although if they feel you've been picking off too many pots they will start to look for a checkraise opportunity], but passive players feel much better about calling than betting. In short, I'd feel more comfortable bluffing against aggressive players simply because I can generally put more faith in the fact that their check is a sign of weakness.
4) How do opponents perceive you? Playing tight for the first 10 rounds or so makes it a lot easier to pull off a bluff here and there, with increasing frequency as the game continues. The initial impression players get of you is the one that generally sticks throughout the entire session [your more observant opponents will note when you switch gears] - so if you've set a tight impression, your bluffs have a greater chance of succeeding.
5) How are opponents likely to perceive your bet? This issue is largely a function of position and bet size. Bets from late position following checks from everyone in front are generally more likely to be viewed as bluffs [a fact that you can use to great advantage when you actually do flop a hand in late position], while bets from early position generally get more respect. The size of the bet matters as well; some players view underbetting the pot as a telltale sign of a steal, while others view massive overbets as such. Pay attention to the bet sizes [relative to the pot] that other players seem willing to call when they're playing "cop" and adjust your bluffs accordingly.
None of the articles in this vein dare to suggest that bluffing is a strategy that can be boiled down to a simple, concrete set of rules ala pot odds
. Bluffing is certainly more of an art than a science, but that doesn't mean you have to go into it blind. Some situations lend themselves to more profitable bluffs than others, and even a rough idea [which is all this article provides] of what those situations are can make a big difference in your bankroll at the end of the month.