The Game Stud

Poker Play

Positive Attitude

Poker Intimidated

Check Other Games

Betting Styles

Poker Bluff


Third Street

Poker Big Pairs

Middle Pairs

Low Pairs

Flush Draws

Straight Draws

Best of the Rest


Fourth Street

Force Out Hands

Poker Two Pair

Poker Big Pairs

Middle Small Pairs

Four Flushes

Ended Straight


Fifth Street

Playing Full House

Flushes Straights

Poker Trips

Poker Two Pair

Drawing Hands


Learning to play poker

Concept of poker Bluffing

Most people are familiar with the concept of bluffing – trying to represent a big hand when you have nothing.  There’s even a variation of the “dogs playing poker” art series called “A Bold Bluff,” in which one dog has a huge stack of chips he bet in front of him on a pair of deuces.  Movies are also full of great poker scenes in which a player trips to bluff his way into winning a big pot.

Naturally, since I love poker and love to outplay my opponent, winning a large pot when I had nothing would give me a lot of satisfaction.  I, however, rarely bluff.

Proceed with Caution

Loving poker like I do, you may say to yourself, “But isn’t bluffing a par of the game?” It certainly is.  Maybe you’ve watched the World Series of Poker, and you’ve certainly seen a player pull off a successful bluff.  You’ve certainly seen it in the moves.  So, why shouldn’t you bluff all that much?  The answer is that isn’t movies, and it certainly isn’t the World Series of Poker.

At the low limits, bluffing rarely works.  You will frequently find the game to be full of many loose-passive player, also known as “calling stations.”  Whether you have nothing or a good hand, at least one player is likely to call you.  Does this mean you can never bluff?  No, but if you do, you should put a lot of consideration into it before you do so (which will not be that often).

If You’re Considering a Bluff..

First, if you are going to try to pull off a bluff, you need to have been at the table at least an hour.  This will have given you a chance to know your opponents a little better.  After an hour, you will have watched how they play and gotten a feel for which types of players they are.  Will they stay in with anything?  Or are they low-action “rock” who stays in only when they have something?  More often than not, your opponents will be a mixture of the two types of players.

Second, if you decide to try a bluff, it’s important that you have remembered cards.  For instance, say you are on sixth street, and the card that falls gives you four to a flush showing on the board.  This is a scary hand, but if you’ve remembered your cards, you can bet casually.  Again, remembering the cards is important.  If you’ve counted a lot of your suit on the board, don’t consider bluffing.  Many of Poker players at your table will not have any clue how many of your suit are live or dead, but there will be a few good players who have been paying attention.

A player who has seen many of your needed cards fall will have no problem calling your bluff.  With few of your suit on the board, by betting here on sixth street, you may pull off a “semi-bluff” – you may be able to represent a hand that you don’t currently have, but could get on the seventh card (also known as the river).  The same circumstances apply when you have four to a straight showing or Poker Two Pair showing – you may not have your hand, but you could complete it on the river.  When you do get to the last card, if you don’t complete you hand, you can try for the bluff again – if there are remaining players and you know their styles.  For example, let’s say you have Poker Two Pair on the board, and it’s checked to you after you get your seventh card.  Wanting to bluff, your first instinct might be not even to look at that seventh card, just to toss four chips in front of you.

This may sound like a good idea – you’d like to send the message that you completed your hand by sixth street, so you have no need even to look at the seventh card.  Do not do this.  Always look at that last card.  Your doing so keeps your opponents confused – now they don’t know if you had your hand on sixth street or just got it on the river.

Hopefully you did get your card, and you won’t even have to bluff.  If you did not, and you want to bluff in this situation, you should have a four-flush, four-to-a-straight or Poker Two Pair on the board.  You also should not have seen many other of your needed cards fall during Poker Play of the hand.  Look at your seventh card before betting.  Try to remain as calm as possible – don’t shake your hands, sigh or make a lot of eye movements, and casually bet your chips if you feel you must bluff.  Don’t stare at your hand long.  Look quickly at what you’re holding, then look at your chips, and bet if you feel bluffing is the best move.

Here’s another reason bluffing can be beneficial – even if you do not pull it off, it can confuse your opponents.  Suppose you have just a four-flush, and, because you’ve not seen many of your suit fall during the course of play, you bet on the river, one player calls you with his two-pair, and he’s overjoyed to see you don’t have that fifth heart.  Now, down the road, when you do have a big hand, you may get more people calling your river bet to “keep you honest.” Then you will joyfully turn over your flush that you did make.

Why You Shouldn’t Bluff

Even looking at the situations when you can bluffing in poker, it is still best not try to pull off a bluff.  Again, we’re not playing $ 30/ss60 stud, in which Poker players are very good and they play a solid, tight-aggressive game.  Bluffing is more likely to occur in that game.  At low limits, a lot of people will stay in to see the last card.  With four players having stayed to the end, and with a decent sized pot, more often than not, bluffing simply will not work, because at least one player will be determined to “keep you honest.”

Nonetheless, as I’ve already said, an occasional bluff can work out in one of two ways:

  1. You will win some money by getting players to fold then and there.
  2. You will increase the size of a pot down the road by getting players to stay with you because they saw you bluff earlier on.

Despite those benefits, I cannot emphasize enough that you must keep in mind that bluffing should not be foremost must on your mind when you take a seat at a low-limit stud game.  You should bluff very rarely, and only when you have gotten a feel for your opponents and have been paying sharp attention to the cards.

The Buy-In

One last topic before we move on: the buy-in.  How much in chips should you bring to the table?  A good rule-of-thumb is to start with ten times the high-end of the table limit.  I primarily play at $2-$ 4 limit, so I will generally start with at least $40.

Here’s one more thing to consider: unless you came not planning to spend more than $40, make sure that you always have enough in front of you to call or raise should you get a good hand.  For example, if you are down to $4, and you get a good hand, about all you can do is go “all-in,” which will result in the creation of another pot in which you will have no stake.  Always buy at least another $20 in chips when you’re running below $ 10.  You want to have enough chips in front of you to call or bang away with a good hand so you can win all of a big pot and not just a smaller main pot


Sixth Street

Completed Solid Hands

Trips & Poker Two Pairs



Seventh Street

Calling Seventh Street

Quick Quiz

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Keep Records

the Shaking Hand