Bluffing and Position

The chances to win your bluffs is been affected by your position. In many of the games with rigid poker players, it is not difficult to bluff when we are first than with second and even that the rival has checked. In this case there are two reasons. If your rival has checked to you, he knows he has reveal his weakness by checking and when you bet he doubts that you are trying to take the benefit of his weakness. Therefore with any of the hand, he has a chance to call. However, if in fact he does have a worse hand, then obviously he would have tried to bluff himself. But because he has checked, he has a good chance of calling a hand and when you bet on a bluff, he probably will call even if he thinks he has a small underdog. Under such circumstances, where you think you cannot win by checking but if you have a reason to think your rival will be weak, a bluff in first position is more possible to win than a bluff in a second position.

Bluffing Against Come Hands

In some cases, both you and your rival may be drawing to a flush or a straight. You may not make your hand but there is better chance your rival may not make his either. Since there is a earlier bets on the come, there may be decent amount of money in the pot - suppose $100 in a $10-$20 game. Now, suppose you are first and you have an AJ high. You consider there is 55 percent chance your rival make a legitimate hand and there is a 15 percent chance he has beat you "by mistake" with like either A, K or an A, Q high. At such times, you should certainly bet because by betting you may make your rival give away the A, K and A, Q high, however improving your chances of winning from 30 percent to 45 percent chance.

However, if you have a busted hand and you doubt that your rival does, too and so by making something like small pair, you may not be willing bluff. Your rival will call a legitimate hand and he will fold without one if you bet. But instead if you check and call, your rivals may bet his busted hands as well as the legitimate ones. Therefore, you beat your rival's bluff by making your small pair, which you could not do if you came betting yourself. Obviously, either way you lose to his legitimate hands.

Bluffing Against Two or More Rivals

When all the cards are out, it is right to bluff out two or more people where your chance of winning reduces mathematically with more number of players. Ironically, you may have a gainful bluffing chance against every rival individually, but not against both of them as a unit. Say, for example, in a $10-$20 game, you are heads up on the end. In the pot, we have $80 and you believe you can get away with a bluff one out of three times. Precisely, it is considered by experienced online poker player, to be a great beneficial bluffing situation. You will win $80 once and lose $20 twice for a net profit of $40 or on an average profit of $13.33 per bet.

Now, suppose you are in a similar situation but instead of one, you are up against with two players. We take an assumption that each player has contributed $40 in the pot to enlarge it to $120, and you think as in the previous case, that each rival will fold one time out of three. You will now get 6-to-1 instead of 4-to-1 from the pot. As a result, a try for a bluff is no more beneficial because the possibility that your rival will fold is 1/3 * 1/3 which equals 1/9. In poker games, any of your rivals will call on an average eight times out of nine. So you lose $20 eight times for a total of $160 and win only $120 once. Your net loss comes to $40 or $4.44 per bet. Thus, going against with each individual player by himself results in a beneficial bluffing situation, but if both are against you, you have skip from the beneficial situation to un beneficial situation.

(It is to be noted that in many bluffing situation against more than one player the chances that each player will fold are not autonomous. Often the player in the Centrex will fold a hand that he would call with if he was last, and sometimes, the player who is last will call with a hand he had folded without fear had he been in the Centrex hoping the player behind him to call. However, the rule still continues to believe that it is generally more beneficial to try to bluff one player out of the pot having 2X dollars than to bluff two players out of a pot having 3X dollars.)

Bluffing and Betting for Amount

There is a limitation to the number of hands that anyone can have but including to the hands themselves, there are many other variables that not often is a specific play always right or always wrong. The size of the pot, your position, the rival or rivals that you are facing, the way they have been playing, the amount of money they hold and you hold, the running of the game and other more restrained factors affects your play. The questions of bluffing and betting fair hands for the amount on the end are specifically applicable for this point. Here are some basic poker rules which are normally applied.

When you bluff, you are rooting your rival to fold which is the only way to win the pot odds. When you bet for the amount, you are rooting to call because you want your legitimate hand to win one more bet from him. It is significant to consider that it may be right to bet a fair hand for the amount, and is also right to bluff, but it is never right to do neither.

When you miss your hand and decide you cannot get away with a bluff on the end, then you can bet for value when you do make your hand. (The only exceptions under this rule will occur in games like hold'em and five-card stud, where you're rivals can see your last card and may have a good feeling of whether it made your hand. In such situation, if you bet a hand for the amount, you will probably get called - or - raised - only by a hand that has you beat.)

Likewise, when you consider the value bet is justified with a fair hand, as your rival will only call if he has you beat, but if you miss your hand, you should definitely bluff. The moment you bluff, it is likely possible your rival to throw away his decent hands.

Most of the time, it may be right both to bluff and to bet for the amount on the end. For example, you are up against one player and decide, before seeing the last card that you will be betting even if you do not improve. Suppose, in seven card stud on the sixth street, you have

Not only you hold A, Q high flush but also you hold a small pair. When you pick your last card, you realize that you didn't make a flush but nor you have the worse hand either. You caught another queen and so now have queens up. Will you bet this hand for value?

The answer to this question given by many professional poker players would be no. They believe that if you are certain you should semi bluff if you missed, then you should not bet a decent hand for the amount as you will be only called if your rival has you beat. On the other hand, both the plays would be right especially when the pot is large. Suppose, there is 80 percent chance you queens up are the best hand and there is 30 percent chance your rival will fold if you bet. It means that if you bet your queens up for value, 30 percent of the time your rival will fold and may not pay you off. However, you are a 5-to-2 favorite when that player calls your bet. You may win an extra bet 50 percent of the time, while you will lose it only 20 percent of the time your rival has queens up beat. Precisely, you should bet with your two pair as you have a 5/7 chance of success if you are called. However, even if miss to make two pair, there is still 30 percent your rival will fold what may be the best hand if you bet. Thus, a bluff will also be beneficial for a long time, so long as your bet is than 3/7 of the pot.

An identical situation comes up in hold'em when I am heads-up against a good player. I raise before the flop in last position and my rival calls. The flop comes something like:

My rival checks. I check. He doubts that I have A, K; A, Q; K, Q and he is correct. He is about to call with any pair if a high card does not come, but if it comes, he will consider folding. I knew this all. So I will bet with an ace, king, queen comes, even if only two of those cards pair me. My rival will frequently call with the worst hand to make the amount bet correct, though I doubt he will fold with frequency to make a bluff beneficial too.

Bluffing As per your Rival

Obviously, you must comprehend your rival when determining whether to bluff or to bet a fair hand for amount. Of course, you should bluff little against a continuous caller. Nevertheless, you should bet any hand against such a player that you think is reasonable favorite to be the best reading hand. However, against a tough player competent of tough folds, you can get away with bluffs more often, but you should be much unwilling to bet your fair hands for the amount. A rigid player is improbable to pay you off with his worse hands and even when he calls, he is likely to show you down a hand that beats you.

The standard situation can be shown when a bluff is right and when it is not right. Suppose, in draw online poker you draw three cards to a pair of jacks and your rival draws three to what you doubt is a three pair of aces. In the first situation, we will assume your rival is the kind of player who will always fold if his hand is not improved. In such case, your play is to bluff if you cannot improve, as you have made your rival throw away his pair of aces. But, instead you have make a jacks up, you should check rather than bet for amount as you are big underdog if you bet and get called. However, if your rival calls, he probably has made aces up.

Now, in the second situation, assume your rival is the kind of player who never folds. You cannot bluff against such player with one pair because he will surely call you bigger pair. On the other hand, if you make jacks up against him, then you should bet for amount as your two pair is 5-to-2 favorite to be the best hand when you get called. The dissimilarity is that this rival will call with one pair of aces together with aces up whereas the first rival would have not called with a pair of aces.

Bluffing as Advertising

You lose definitely when you caught bluffing. You may not care of being caught and lose early in a round because you are thinking your image for later hands. You can make an ill advised bluff early so that you will get more calls on your legitimate hands for the night remaining. (Likewise, an early ill-advised call against rigid players may keep them from bluffing against you for the night remaining because they are afraid that you are to call their bluffs.)

It can be advantageous by making an image that you almost never bluff. I am accepted a tight player and sometimes pass up an early, average beneficial bluffing situation to develop this image. This permits me to steal some pots in the future with complete impunity. No one guess that I am daring to bluff.

When you are up against marginal players, they are continuously studying the method how you play. Therefore, approving the effect of any play on future hands can be a significant part of your game, mainly in holdem no-limit and pot-limit poker game, especially when you play against the same player all through the night or from one night to the next or from one week to the next.

The argument is done by some players that bluffs should show a loss because those losses will be repaid with interest when they get a chance on their legitimate hands. Game theory, as we will discuss in next chapter, describes that when you employ optimum bluffing strategy you should break even your bluff. Usually, there is no reason not to develop a sense of your rival and of betting situation therefore you bluff indicates a profit. The successful bluff wins the full pot and a lot of extra calls on your legitimate hands are made to make up for one pot. Thus, against all but very tight players you should bluff little than optimally, therefore your bluff indicates a profit. The greater your status as a tight player, the more you will be able to get away with bluffs. Simultaneously, you will still get caught often to get paid off when you do have a best hand.


A bluff is a raise or bet with a hand where you do not think is the best hand. You should prohibit yourself to semi-bluffs with hands that may become the best hand when with more cards to come.

While determining to make a pure bluff, you calculate whether your chances of getting away with it are better than the pot odds you get. However, if there are more cards to come, and you want to continue to bluff, you must consider your effective pot odds.

You should usually bluff with the busted hand at the end when you want your rival to be weak. The bluff tends to work more often in first position against a tough player. Even though, if you have a hand with some value, do not bet when you are first so that you can break off your rival's bluffs. If your rival checks when you are in second position, show down these same hands as they have little chance of winning if you bet and get called.

The odds against a bluffs work maximizes mathematically with each extra person in a pot. Thus, it is right to try to bluff out two or more players, especially at the end.

The difficult problem of judgment and poker experience is when to bluff and when to bet a decent hand for the amount. Normally, if you do not think you could get away with a bluff, you should bet your decent hands for amount; if a decent hand cannot be a gainful bet then a bluff should be.

Another tool of an expert poker player is to bluff. From my point of view, they should have a long-run profit the same as any other poker play. Even if you rarely get caught, you can still hope to get paid off when you do have a good hand.