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Lessons in Poker Bluffing: Part One

Bluffing is an important part of your poker game but it is often misunderstood and used too often or not enough. Here are a few tips to get you started toward proper bluffing and good times to use it in your game. First off, remember your positions. Our first few tips here will focus on late position bluffing simply because it is the best opportunity to bluff successfully as well as the one time wherein most players make avoidable mistakes or miss chances.

Your goals in bluffing should be clear. When you’re in a late position you essentially control the pace of the hand. If you’ve taken note of those players that have folded out of a lack of confidence in the past then you’re ready to start forcing them out. When forcing out other players your bluffs should be more frequent and of a riskier nature, raising in large increments and made up of more pure bluffs than you might have gone in with otherwise. Late position allows you to pick off the weaker competitors noted by their tendency to have waited a long time before checking or folding directly off the flop often in the past.

If you’re only trying to bulk up the pot then forcing players out becomes unwise (except in tournament situations). A late position isn’t as good for early positions when it comes to “milking the table” but you still have the opportunity to see a great deal of action before it’s your turn to call or raise. Your notes come into play to a large degree and keeping concentration on the table is essential. You can look for patterns in weaker players then use your late position bluffing to force them into showdowns, betting them into constant raising before they are forced to fold.