My book, The Art of Bluffing, focuses on poker skills for successful bluffing. I estimate that a skillful bluffer can expect his bluffs to succeed about 60 percent of the time. What’s more, a successful bluff will gain you many more chips than you would lose over time should your bluff be called. That ought to hold true both in live poker games as well as if you’re playing poker online at one of the popular sites listed on https://www.topaustraliangambling.com/online-poker.
Caution: After your bluff is called, do not try to bluff again for at least 20 minutes – so a player who saw that hand is less likely to remember it.
Bluffs can be categorized based on position. Using position when bluffing is essential to success. I thus recommend bluffing largely from late position.
The Late Position Bluff offers special advantages over bluffs from early and middle positions, as the late position player sees what the other positions do before he must act. For example, if a tight player has raised from an early position, and his raise is called by a middle position, don’t even consider trying to pull off a bluff. These players are likely committed to their hands.
Other Bluffing Tips From Late Position
- Observe how many opponents have called. It is much easier to bluff out one or two players than three or more.
- Note which opponents have bet or raised before you and what type of player he/she is. (Don’t try to bluff out a calling station.)
- Look at how many chips each opponent has. You cannot bluff out a player who has only a few chips in front of him.
Bluffing can also be evaluated by when you bluff in the course of the hand. Here are some thoughts on bluffing at each street.
Bluffing Before the Flop
- If the early and middle positions have all folded before you, consider making a late-position raise as a bluff. Steal the blinds.
- If an opponent who is particularly deceptive often raises, consider reraising him with a marginal hand or better. Chances are he is bluffing – and you have position over him. Very likely he will fold to your re-raise, or fold when you bet on the flop if he doesn’t catch a strong hand.
- If you bluff by raising from the hijack position after one or two limpers, the opponents behind you likely will fold; it’s a double-bet for them. Then, you become the “virtual button” for the rest of that hand, giving you a positional edge over the other players.
- If one of the blinds calls your bluff raise, he probably has a very good starting hand. Look for any tells he might display. Consider his playing traits before you decide whether to try another bluff on the turn.
READ ALSO: Top 3 Tips for Bluffing in No-Limit Hold’Em
After the Flop
- If everyone checks to you, your Late Position Bluff may very well induce them to fold. That’s especially the case if the flop brings small and medium cards to the board (no face cards with which opponents usually stay to see the flop) or a small pair with a small/medium third card. It is likely that the flop missed everyone. In that case, if the betting is checked to you, then your Late Position Bluff is very likely to force out the remaining players – leaving the pot for you. You win by default.
- If the flop is dangerous, stop and think. Examples: three cards in sequence, two or more of the same suit, two or more honor cards. With such “scare cards” falling on the flop, it is possible that an opponent has flopped a big hand or a big draw. In that case, your Late Position Bluff bet would force out only the weaker hands while a player with a strong hand remains in the pot. In fact, that player may raise if you bluff bet again on the turn. That could be costly. Be cautious; use your position to see what your opponents do before acting – and look for tells.
On the River
- If your bluff fails to connect by the river, all is not necessarily lost. Try to “read” your opponent for a reasonable guess of his range of hands. Your bluff on the river might be enough to force him out – leaving the pot to you. After all, he has no idea of the strength of your hand. And the pot odds are bound to be favorable at this point.