Bluffing is an important aspect of poker but one that must be used correctly. Bluffing for the sake of bluffing will hardly ever end well for you. Knowing when to bluff and recognizing when an opponent is likely bluffing is very important. Today, I want to discuss a few points on bluffing to help our beginners out. Watching the pros at tournaments will also help you understand how they see when someone is bluffing or how they hide their own bluffs.
1. Avoid bluffing too much. Beginners are especially guilty of this. You will get a lot further and win more money by bluffing only when you’re sure the situation is right. You should rather play your good hands very well and win that way. Bluffing can work very well many times, but it is risky and if you don’t use it well you will lose.
2. You can use bluffing as a strategy. If you bluff your opponent a few times and show them, you may cause some tilt. They may get frustrated or angry and play recklessly or make bad calls which work to your advantage. This will also mean that they won’t believe you when you actually have a good hand and play it to the end to win.
3. You should time bluffing well. Bluffing is a good strategy when you know that your opponent is likely to fold. If you know that your opponent doesn’t have the high cards to push it all the way, you can bluff because he is likely to fold. Knowing these signs comes with practice and experience and should not be tried by beginners.
4. Study your opponents. The best way to tell when your opponents may be bluffing is to learn how they work. Every player has their tells. You just need to know how to see it. Some players play with sunglasses, hoodies, etc. to keep their opponents from seeing their tells.
5. Know what a tell is. Different players have different tells. You should study a few tournaments and videos to see what type of behavior may indicate a bluff or a tell. Tells can be any small thing that changes in the player, for example, eye twitching, sighing, sweating, head-scratching, face touching, leg hopping, slouching or other signs of withdrawal, etc. Any of these signs and some others could indicate that your opponent is bluffing or may not have as a good hand as you may think.
Bluffing can be a successful way of getting the win, but it is risky. Only experienced players who can manipulate their opponents and read them well should attempt a bluff. Have a look at some more tips here and here.