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Bluffing: Timing it right

Bluffing is the art of poker. Imagine that you were faced with an opponent who played all of his hands in the same way. Would he be hard to beat? No, of course not! With each hand he played, you'd find it easier to read his game. On the other hand, unpredicatable players make life a lot harder. Should you call? Or should you fold? By being a skilful bluffer, you'll unsettle your opponents.

Wait for the right opponent...

It’s always easier to bluff one person than the whole table. When lots of players are in the game, it’s more likely that one of them will be holding a good hand, thus reducing the chances of your bluff paying off. The chances of a bluff working are higher when fewer players are in the game and when these players are likely to believe your bluff. Try to bluff no more than two players at any time.

Remember to adapt your bluff to the type of players you’re facing; bluffing a poor player is often a waste of time. Poor players tend to call whatever their hands. Against these types of players, it’s better to wait until you have a better hand for maximum gains right up to the river.

Therefore, it’s better to bluff against “tight” players who are quick to fold their cards.

At the right time...

Wait for the right time to strike when the other players really believe that you’re holding the best hand.

If you wait until after you’ve won a few hands at the showdown, the other players will be more likely to think that you’re not bluffing and will be quicker to fold their cards.

Bluff when the board makes it seem clear to the other players that you’re raising because you’ve got the best hand.

ex : Flop Flop 3 Clubs (4, 7, J) Hand=Jack of Hearts, 10 of spades

With the right hand...

Opt for a semi-bluff rather than a full bluff with an awful hand. If your hand has a genuine chance of improving, you’ll increase your chances of winning. You’ll then have two different ways of winning: by your opponents folding directly or by them calling you when you get the card you’ve been waiting for.

Don’t bluff too little or too often...

Even if your bluff doesn’t work, it will make it easier for you to call your opponents in the next hand. Remember this when you’re holding the nuts. But on the other hand, don’t bluff too often. If you want your opponents to fold when you’re bluffing, they’ll have to believe you’re a tight player. Otherwise, they’ll call you every time. To bluff successfully, wait for the right opponent at the right time, when you’re holding the right hand!

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Bluff: A bluff is an attempt to convince your opponents that you are holding a hand that is completely different to the one you are actually holding in an effort to make them fold or bet incorrrectly.

Flop: The first three community cards, placed face up on the board

Semi-bluff: A bluff featuring a hand that has the potential to become a good hand if the right cards come along.

River: The fifth and final community card, placed face up on the board

Showdown: When players who are still in the game compare their cards. The last player to raise lays down his or her cards face up. If an opponent can beat this hand, he or she also shows his or her cards.

Tight player: Someone who prefers to fold rather than play poor quality hands.

Turn: The fourth community card, placed face up on the board

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