Your One Stop Bluffing Guide for 2020
By Carl Bevin
Editor in Chief
Discover the Best Ways to Bluff in an Online Poker Site and Win Real Cash
Bluffing is one of the most popular actions in poker. Poker online bluffing happens nearly every turn, but that doesn’t mean you should join in and bluff all the time. Bluffing is a fine art that if used properly can turn you into a more profitable player. If it’s abused it can annihilate your bankroll and cost you a fortune. That’s why you should learn the bluff types and how to bluff successfully, or just avoid bluffing entirely.
The Different Types of Bluffs
While playing poker online or in person there are three general bluff types. The quick bluff, the semi-bluff and the stone cold bluff. The first two have their place in the game, the second really shouldn’t be used at all.
- The Quick Bluff
- The Semi Bluff
- The Stone Cold Bluff
Rely on Quick Bluffs
Quick bluffs in online poker are one of your best options and the only type of bluff that you should be using regularly. This is the tool that you bring out to win a small pot when nobody else seems interested in it. For instance, imagine that you’re in late position at the table and everyone simply calls and looks uninterested. You can either get out of the hand now if you don’t have much, or you can take the offensive and try to small bluff your way to a small pot. Sure it’s not going to change the game for you, and it won’t make you rich, but a well-placed small bet will earn you money from a loser hand, and that’s the only real goal there.
The Semi Bluff is another Useful Tool
The semi bluff is an intimidation tool with late game potential. Essentially you’re trying to scare away other players with the potential of your hand. If other players seem mostly uninterested in the pot, and the cards on the table don’t go together well, you can raise a bet, or place a bet of your own to try and intimidate the other few players even if you don’t have a strong hand yet. The key is to have at least AK, or another high set of pocket cards that can easily make at least a strong pair. If someone calls your raise you know they have a solid hand and you’ll most likely lose on the next play, you should seriously consider folding at that point because without even a pair at this point you won’t get a winning hand next turn no matter what.
Stone cold bluffs are rarely a good idea and should be left to the professionals or heads up play.
Don’t be a Stone Cold Bluffer
Online poker bluffing is much too common, and it’s the cause of a lot of lost money. While the two types of bluffing listed up above are useful on occasion, a stone cold bluff, or a bluff when you have no chance is a very risky move and something you should avoid until you’re at the expert level. Unless you can figure out what the opponent is thinking and you know for sure this type of bluff will cause a fold, it’s the last thing you want to do. You’re better off folding and waiting for a better hand, than betting big while at the online poker room. You’ll save your chips for later, and still have the opportunity to bank if you don’t do this.
Put Yourself in Your Opponent’s Shoes
The key to making any bluff work is knowing what your opponent is thinking. This is how the best players rake in real cash on a daily basis. While playing online poker or in person you need to take the time to try to read other players and get a feel for them. See when they bet, when they fold and how often they raise. You’ll start to spot patterns and you should only bluff when the other players are very likely to fold. You want to bluff when you have a good chance to steal the pot, otherwise there is no point.
If you bluff every hand players will see through the act within the first 10 minutes. The trick to successful online poker bluffing is to make moves selectively so the other players aren’t sure if you’re bluffing or not. Ideally they will assume you have solid cards and fold you their money, and being selective is key to that.
Go After a Few
In online poker you need to understand that bluffing the entire table is a bad idea. If you have a poor hand there’s likely at least one guy with better cards than you out there, probably several. Bluffing more than two people leads to bad results. Keep an eye out for chances when you can try and bluff just a couple players, you’re much more likely to succeed in these instances.
Don’t Bluff Fish
Fish are the players that buy in to every hand that they can. They toss out money willingly for the fun of the game and don’t really get that they should play selectively. These are the last people you want to bluff. They’ll call your bluff just to keep playing, without even considering that you have a strong hand.
Represent your Bet
Betting pre-flop is a strong indicator that you have good pocket cards. Even if all the cards out on the board are poor after that preflop bet, it’s still a decent time to raise and represent that initial bet to make people believe you got exactly the cards you wanted. This should only be done if there are few people playing and if they are playing pretty weak.
Don’t be the guy losing out on real money because you don’t know how to bluff properly. Instead take your time to learn proper bluffing and you’ll have one more piece of the puzzle needed to be a top-rated online poker player.