The bluff is an often misunderstood tactic in poker. The bluff is romanticized as the ultimate illustration of the poker player’s skill, and no television or film depiction of poker would be complete without the hero pulling off at least one heart-stopping bluff. But how much is bluffing really a part of poker?
Should You Bluff in Poker?
No matter what type of poker you play, unless you only play free Texas Holdem, the answer to the question “should you bluff” is an emphatic yes. There are two very good reasons for this. One, if you miss bluffing opportunities, you miss winning opportunities. There are some pots that it is clear nobody wants. Make sure you are the guy who takes those pots rather than the next guy, and you will stand a much better chance of being a winner at the end of the day. The other reason is that if you never bluff, people will always be exactly sure what your bets mean, and you will never win any money when you have a good hand.
How Often Should You Bluff?
This will vary depending upon the type of person you are and the structure of the table. If it is a very tight table where people are playing straightforwardly, you should bluff more often. If it is an extremely loose table where no one believes anybody, you should be much more reluctant to bluff. If you have not been getting much action on your good hands, it’s time to work in a bluff or two. If you’re getting called down all the time, especially if you are showing down mediocre holdings, wait on the bluffing for awhile.
What Are the Best Games to Bluff in?
The best games to bluff in are no limit or pot limit games, where you can really put a lot of pressure on your opponents with a big bet. Limit games are much harder to bluff in, especially in a game like Omaha where someone often has the best or close to the best hand. There are bluffing situations in limit, but they are not as frequent as in no limit and pot limit games.