The Art of Bluffing
Bluffing is a difficult technique to get right. Bluff too often and you are likely to get caught out but bluff too seldom and you may find that opportunities to take the spoils will pass you by.
There are two main types of bluff, a regular bluff and a semi-bluff. Everyone knows what a regular bluff is but many will be unfamiliar with a semi-bluff. This is a partial bluff where you bet, check-raise or raise and win the hand through other players folding (like bluffing) or you win by improving to the best hand as the turn and river cards are dealt. The difference between a bluff and a semi-bluff is that with the latter you have a chance, though an often limited one, of improving your hand to a winnable one, through the cards that are dealt after the bluff.
You should remember not to try to semi-bluff every time you get the opportunity to do so. If you do it too often it gives your opponents time to figure out a defence against it. The less you use it the less you find yourself being caught out. However, you shouldn’t worry when someone calls your bluff and you lose the hand. If opponents know that you have bluffed then you are more likely to get your bets called later on in the game when you do have a hand that can win.
Although the top players can often win some massive pots with outrageous bluffs, the general rule is that you win small pots with bluffs and big pots with decent hands. When you try to bluff at a big pot you can often find that many players will be pot committed and are less likely to relinquish their hand on the strength of your bet. When you are playing for smaller amounts, opponents will let you take the pot as it may be deemed fairly insignificant.
Bluffs should not be used when you are playing against poor opponents as a bluff actually works better against good players. A poor player is unlikely to sense a trap being laid for them and they will just call your bets, whereas a good player will often sense the danger and fold. You should also avoid bluffing into many opponents. This increases the chance that someone will call and hit a lucky hand. You are best off bluffing against just one or two opponents.
Hopefully these tips should help you with your bluffing and the semi-bluff can become part of your game if it isn’t already. It is a powerful weapon to have in your arsenal and can help you on your way to success.