“If you never bluff, poker won’t just be boring, it will be unbeatable.” – Doug Polk

Really, what could be more satisfying than a successful bluff in a poker game?

While regular, vanilla poker might have give players some thrills when they get started, the fact is, the whole game of poker can quickly become boring if you don’t incorporate some bluffing in the mix. Although some players approach bluffing conservatively, others do not; some can’t handle the risk and thrill of pushing the limits of their opponents and playing the man.

That said, even though it might be a tempting idea to bluff your way to winning the pot, it is recommended that you bluff when the stakes are low if you’re a beginner. Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about bluffing strategy in poker, whether you’re just getting started or you’re ready for the big tables!

What is Bluffing?

In simple terms, the philosophy behind bluffing in poker is making your opponent lose. In poker terms, we’d rather say it’s the strategy of betting event though your opponent will lay down a better hand than what you hold, which is the opposite of a value bet.

That’s why, if your opponent calls your bluff, game over!

When to Bluff in Poker

There are five rules of thumb for choosing when to bluff in a Poker game.

  • As a newbie: As a newbie, never make the mistake of bluffing when you are not sure that your opponent is going to fold. In other words, it isn’t recommended that you use bluffing as a starter.
  • Understanding when the stakes are high: We advise you to bluff only when the stakes are low. Although it might be tempting to bluff your way into big winnings, it is more effective to bluff when stakes don’t make a loss too deadly. 
  • Bluff a stronger opponent: when playing against an inexperienced player, they are unlikely to fold when you bluff. On the other hand, a more experienced player might be more likely to over-estimate the strength of your hand.
  • Bluff before a pre-flop:  when you bluff in a pre-flop situation, you can observe immediate reactions and re-evaluate your strategy before the hand is completed.
  • Quit when your attempt to make your opponent fold doesn’t look good: Instead of throwing more money into the pot, it would be a smart move to quit when you see your bluffing attempts don’t work on your opponent. 

Types of Bluffing Online

There are four different types of bluffs in the game of poker. Of course, you can mix it up and incorporate two or more categories in each specific bluff situation.

  1. Stone Cold Bluff:  A situation where you have zero chance of making a strong hand
  2. Continuation bet bluff: A situation where you’re hoping your opponent doesn’t connect with the board
  3. Opportunistic Bluff: A situation where the other hands haven’t indicated any interest in the pot
  4. Semi Bluff: A situation where your hand is weak at a given time, although, there’s still a chance you might end up with a strong hand once more cards are revealed

The Difference between Online Bluffing and Offline Bluffing

Never forget that Poker is Poker! The same applies to bluffing online or offline. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re playing online or at the Caesar Palace, the rules are the same, so are the strategies and tactics.

However, there are few pointers to note when playing online vs. playing offline. 

  • You cannot hide a lousy poker face in a casino, but when you’re playing online, no one sees your reactions. You could be going all in with nothing but a short pair and none would be the wiser.
  • There are more horrible poker players online than at the casino. Truth is people act very differently online; online people could play more hands and chase more draws. While you can do that when you’re live at the casino, players tend to be more conservative in a face-to-face poker setting.

The other big difference in strategy for online poker players is the access to poker charts and trends. While you can only trust your brain when you’re sitting at the casino table, playing online gives you the option to make bluffing decisions based on the many guides and charts available, adding a layer of security to a risky play. 

How to Know Your Opponent is Bluffing

There are several ways to know if your opponent is bluffing whether you are playing online or live in a casino.

The following are some of the pointers for detecting bluffing in a poker game:

  • Bluffing happens quite frequently. Since it’s a very common strategy in poker, we recommend assuming players are bluffing more often than not.
  • Observe bet amounts. A player who bets unusually low or high for the type of hand displayed might be trying to compensate for a risky bluff.
  • Often when people bluff, they’ll take more time to make decisions, so look for hesitant players as potential bluffers.

Bluff Percentages in Poker

There are no strict rules as to when and how often bluffing takes place in a poker game. It’s something we would instead call a “spontaneous effect.”

This is because every bluffing situation is relative, and players react differently to pressure. But if we had to put a number on it, we could say that a bluff occurs once in every ten hands.

As we have said, this is not typical. Some people bluff right from the start of a game, and others will try to get to know the playstyles of their opponents before getting their feet wet. 

To sum it up

Understand that playing poker without bluffing is only half the thrill of the game. Although, as a novice, it might only seem like a sensible strategy to approach bluffing very carefully; never forget that bluffing will be necessary to bring your game (and your winnings) to the next level.

Don’t wait any longer and start putting that newfound bluffing expertise to use right now at Ignition Casino.