To Bluff or Not to Bluff: Your Ultimate Guide to Bluffing in Poker

Tammy

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Whether you like it or not, bluffing is an integral part of a well rounded poker strategy. But there is an art to this skill, and we are here to help you hone it.
That's why we put together the Ultimate Guide to Bluffing.

We'll go over all the essentials: the whens, hows, whys, and the don'ts; plus laying your foundation, sizing your bluffs, and following through. Our guide is a must read if you struggle with bluffing, or even a great refresher course for you seasoned bluffers out there.

Do you struggle with pulling the trigger on a bluff? Got any other tips you've been successful with? Let's talk about it!
 
freddydr87

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I agree the bluffes are very important,imagine i only bet for value,i will only be called by the nuts any other hand will fold and i will be a nith louser player. But iff i have a nith image in the table and aply some bluffes to balance my value hands i will be guetting the value i cant extrat with my nuts from my bluffes. Excelent article.
 
Bev

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Being as I don't usually bluff , I seem to fall into the Semi-Bluff .
I end up being a call player rather then a raiser. The weak hand will make me do that.
Hey , I have been known to raise preflop and then check and even fold !!!
But I do like the advice to do any bluffing later in the game when your stack is bigger and you can afford it.
 
xOneCoolHandx

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Great article. The art of the bluff is critical to poker success. I like that the article mentions table image for both players. This is important in deciding when to bluff and when to hero call if you think your opponent is bluffing. A part I think was overlooked in the article was range and nut advantage. In addition to the factors you listed. I use this to determine if it is a good bluffing opportunity, although, range and nut analysis is probably better for an article directed at more advanced players.
 
acidburnfx

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It's possible that Tom Dwan did a good reading playing with only 8-6. There's that one against Phil Ivey in a pot of more than 1.1 million that beats everything. The guy is a living legend of online poker.
 
ammje

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Thanks for the guide, it's always good to know when it's the right time to make a bluff, and this guide has helped me a lot.
 
Bozovicdj

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I will again be the grumpy one and say that I didn't like the article.
Don't get me wrong, it is not all bad just not a very good one.

First of all, the most important thing for bluffs is knowledge of ranges and overall knowledge about how your opponent plays in general (the one we are trying to bluff).
Bluffing is essentially representing a hand that has your opponent's range beat! That is what bluff really is.
A great line by Sam Farha: "You can't bluff a bad player, only good ones"! That is because good players keep track of positions, ranges, they are thinking about what opponents can really have and against them, bluffs works!

Also, what in the world is pre-flop bluff? I imagine it is when SB bets pre with a weak hand when everyone folded to him? That is not a bluff, just stealing bluffs IMO.
This being said the entire "best times to bluff" is actually bad in terms of, being misleading for someone who wants to learn what bluff is, and most importantly how to pull off a good bluff.
Again: bluff is not about betting when you don't have it on dry boards hoping opponent doesn't have it and will fold. Bluff is representing a specific range of hands, or better yet a specific hand that will beat most of your opponent's range!
 
MMaki1981

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Not my style BUT willing to try

Typically, I am not one to bluff, it just always makes me nervous. I would much rather play the hands that are worth playing or fold. That way if I go to showdown I actually have a chance at winning.

However, I definitely see the benefits of bluffing and especially after reading this article I see how if executed at the right time it can really make your game. And I now realize why in the past, the few times I chose to 'try' to bluff - the odds were against me. I was either in the wrong position, low stack at the able or didn't read the other players correctly:(.

So while I am not sure I am entirely comfortable to just bluff my way to the top, I will definitely start paying attention to openings of when I can. I will even give it a try every once in awhile while I get more comfortable.
 
iwont20

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Don't bluff the calling stations, pick your opponents wisely and make sure that your bluff makes sense.
 
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TheDev

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Bluffing is an art form. You have to know and understand many variables at the table, such as the players, stack sizes, your position, community cards out, etc., to be able to successfully bluff. Not to mention you have to the confidence to pull of a good bluff.
 
Syltan

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Quite an extensive article, a lot of useful things, I even learned something new for myself. Poker, as it was, is, and will be a game of information, so it’s worth using any tricks at the table only on the basis of your knowledge about your opponent, and there is no universal way to bluff.
 
Naty2585

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although I do not like very much to bluff I am aware that the bluff is a very necessary part in poker, I especially like to apply only semi bluffes that can improve for nuts. The article is very good, thank you.
 
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619Leafs

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I stink at bluffing, every time I try to make a bluff attempt it never works I always get called by a fringe hand such as today I got called by a Q7 when Q is top pair however it was a wet board yet still cannot bluff. I cannot win anything.
 
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I don't typically see a lot of discussion regarding table image, but this article jumps right into it. It's so important!
 
GIRFIED

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We are many who do not understand the concept of Bluff, where we use it as a last option or perceive it as something away from our game. It is thanks to poker on TV, that bluffs look amazing to do. But the truth is that the bluffs are a fundamental part of the game, giving balance to our ranges, it is more, by definition of concepts all the movements we make must have bluff, it is not uncommon to find ourselves among players who discuss things like … the player X has a leak in the river because I don't bet enough of bluff.
 
MemphisGrind

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This is pretty solid advice! I definitely lay the foundation, and try to be in position most often. But, a well timed story against players that are capable of following a hand and putting you on two cards this can work. It's not going to work if you try and bluff new players, or calling stations because they are either playing their two cards, or dead set that you never have it :) Either way, if you're opponent is a "thinking" player then balancing a bluff into your game is definitely a great play! Good read!
 
Sokolik

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I don't have many games at the moment, but I realized that I shouldn't bluff in front of the bubble. This idea is bad for my stack and getting into prizes.
 
redboy23

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I find the bluff a very interesting play and have been on all sides of the fence; semi-bluff, hero call, stone cold bluff (usually up against a small stack for maximum pressure) and the hand that hurt the most - hand caught in the cookie jar!

Like most players, I use the semi-bluff the most. However, I keep a very sharp eye out for the chronic betters of over cards to a low board. This is where most of my hero calls work - holding a pocket pair, a bottom or middle pair.

What a rush when you catch villain red handed - the sweetest being the all-in bluff for tourney life! Big stacks are famous for this move.

None the less, this article was a wealth of great information and is a great reference for me.

I struggle quite a bit with the triple barrel and pulling the trigger on the river after a check raise on a semi-bluff that misses :(. A really scary spot for me!

Poker is an enjoyable journey and I will continue to sharpen my skills.
 
redboy23

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This is why it is nice to read.

Hero sniffs out a bluff!

Villain limps pre-flop at 15-30 blinds and bets 2 x BB post flop (Qs, 7s, Ad) and after the turn (Qs, 7s, Ad, Tc). I am putting the hand on a draw. After the turn card, I thought it was all over but villain continues to min-bet. Then, out of the blue, villain fires a huge bet 12 x BB on the river (Qs, 7s, Ad, Tc, 9c) and leaves me in a quandary.

What would you do as a hero holding top pair?

Good to read and apply the knowledge after reading :) . Click here to see the hand
 
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shanest

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IMAGE IMAGE IMAGE.

Hand selection is also vital here.
Have to know how the players perceive you and when is the right time. I like to typically 3b to narrow range and then continue on boards where I have good backdoor equity to apply max pressure.
 
XYZ2123

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A lot of good advice here about when and how to bluff (or not). Image, position, hand selection. You have to choose the right spot against the right opponent, and don't bluff too much or the rest of the table will catch on. Easier said than done of course. Like any skill, practice makes perfect.
 
bruno13xs

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Heck Carsdchat you are really incredible, the two weeks created a post if bluffing is right or wrong, because they do not know if I was doing it right, and you come to this amazing article taking all the doubts
 
Edison A

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The Bluff is an art, but the experience teaches you basic rules that you have to respect before doing so, for example in dry FLOP without projects, against few players etc etc., at some point in the tournament you have to apply to win some chips, Sometimes it is profitable to apply bluff in the bubble and steal chips from shy players, but to do so you have to have a stack half up on chips, and not make it shortstack, thanks for the article
 
Luvart

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This is a good guide about bluffing in poker.

I think the single most important thing when it comes to bluffing, is picking your sports carefully. This is why, the art of bluffing is something that needs a long long time to master.

"People don't bluff as much as you think. Pros make money, by playing big pots with the best hand, not by making some kind of super advanced moves....."

-Daniel Negreanu-
 
Evan Jarvis

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Here's my contribution to the bluffing guide :)


One of my oldest videos, and also one of my favorites.

Just goes to show how important knowing your opponent type is!!!
 
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