Poker is a fascinating game for many reasons, and one of them is certainly the Art of Bluff. Those who have this art can achieve in this game what is impossible to achieve in other games, winning with the worse hand, simply by causing our opponent to fold.
This psychological component of this part of the game elevates it to another level, as the sense of fear and illusion start to play a dominant role in the table. This just means we need to pay attention not only to the game, but sometimes even more attention to our opponents, how they play, how they bet, and what they bet. A distraction can be lethal.
What is Bluff?
Technically speaking, bluffing at poker is raising a hand that we know is not the best one. The goal is precisely to make our opponents fold so that we win the hand that should be lost to start with. When someone bluffs the responsibility goes to other players on the table, meaning, do they have a good hand to make us call such a bet, or do we fold even we have the best hand without knowing it?
Calling a bluff is a well-known expression even outside the game of poker, but the origins of the expression are precisely here, they were born at the poker table. Do we pay to see the hand and risk losing it all, or do we prefer to play safe and keep our chips? It’s an Art to know when to make such a call.
When to Bluff?
We cannot bluff all the time or else our opponents would notice and they would just call our bluff. So nothing like picking the right circumstances so that the chances of being called are smaller, making this move more profitable.
Whenever that particular card that might make our opponent think we have a very good hand (even if we don’t) appears, that is when we should play our bluff, as that virtually means less favorable odds for them.
There are additional factors that can make us even more successful. For example, if fewer opponents are on the table playing, the biggest chances we have to succeed with our bluff. Most likely, to be successful at bluffing, we need to have called a few good hands before, we cannot bluff all the time or else we will get called.
In this way, keeping our opponents in doubt, we might bluff some, play the real deal in other hands, and before they know it, we have won another hand with extremely bad cards. Setting the right pace for bluffing certainly plays a big role in determining our success.
If we have the capacity to observe how our opponents bet, we can also determine how vulnerable they are to our bluff. If they make a low rise, they just have an average hand, but at the same time, they might be playing the same game as we are.
If our opponents have lost a big hand, have won a big hand, have few chips on the table, a lot of chips, if they are more or less agitated, if we could read some sign in their gestures or positions, all of this should be taken into consideration if we are about to bluff.
These external circumstances, the pressure the game generates, has a big impact on the capacity of making decisions, so those who can master all these factors, can certainly have a better chance of succeeding with bluff and winning more hands.