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Lessons in Poker Bluffing: Part Three

This is the third part of a three part series of Poker Bluffing. The first part can be found here - Poker Bluffing Part One and the second part can be found here - Poker Bluffing Part Two.

Having a few basic strategies with poker bluffing related to table position is obviously important but it’s also a good idea to know how to deal with the number of players still left in the hand when considering your bluffing actions.

The number of opponents still active at a table or within a given hand can be important to consider in your bluffing choices. When you’re bluffing an entire table you become much more likely to escape scrutiny and hold a greater opportunity to trick others into favourable actions. Regular semi-bluffing can be a valuable technique against larger sets of active players but quitting bluffing entirely in the end game is often advisable.

Poker Bluffing against one or two players becomes much more difficult and can present some problems as we mentioned above. Consistent bluffing is unadvisable when you’ve reached a showdown situation for the simple fact that your every decision is now being closely monitored by a single competitor. By the time you’ve reached a showdown the goal is usually to take home the pot rather than bulk it up so the risks associated with bluffing are often too great to warrant.

A good rule of thumb for bluffing any number of opponents lies in always reading the known table cards. Whether you’re up against one or nine other competitors, manipulating the amount of information available through the river, your own pocket and any mucked hands, allows you to bluff intelligently and, ultimately, persuasively.

Lessons in Poker Bluffing: Part Two

This is the second part of a three part series of Poker Bluffing. The first part can be found here - Poker Bluffing Part One.

Knowing how and when to bluff in early position is also important to learn. An early position can be a great spot at the table when you want to manipulate the pace of a hand as much as possible and bluffing can obviously play a large part in this.

Take note of those players that fold right off of the flop regularly. These are usually the competitors that are only playing at a novice level of experience and they can be manipulated by pure bluffs more often than not. A frequent folder can be a goldmine when they’ve hit on a pair of cards that they believe will take them to the end of a hand. The particular lack of confidence that makes them fold on a regular basis is the same phenomena that will allow you to bluff them into folding when the heat is on, after they have already committed many bets in the endgame of a hand.

The early position will also allow you to identify stronger poker players so you can better gauge when to attempt bluffs or not. Aside from their more frequent winning of hands, solid competitors will often play cautiously and only strike hard occasionally in a typical tight-aggressive style. Having an early position allows you to test the waters of the entire table and note the better and worse players before attempting to bluff them unsuccessfully later on. Semi-bluffs are usually much more advisable than pure bluffs against better players who are more skilled at spotting tricks at the poker table.

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.