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Poker Bluffing Tips: How to Make a Bluff Work

Bluffing has one thing in common with Texas Holdem other than being connected to poker: it gets more hype and attention than it is due. Granted, bluffing has its place. But to think that bluffing is all there is to poker is like saying spaghetti is all there is to Italian cuisine. It's just not true and you only have to play poker for one night to see that. Here are a few tips to make a bluff work.

Bluffing Tip 1 - Bluff Seldom

Bluffing works only if your opponents believe you. If they see through your ploy, the bluff fails. Now if you bluff often, you lose that very persuasiveness you need. You become predictable and everyone knows you're bluffing. The strength of bluffing is built on how unpredictable your moves are. For this reason, you must not bluff often. Bluffing is like a practical joke that you play on the unsuspecting: do it too often and it doesn't work, but do it when they don't expect it and you are more likely to succeed.

Bluffing Tip 2 - Bluff the Right Players

What are you trying to achieve in a poker bluff? To make others fold. This means that for your bluff to work, you had better practice it on those who fold easily. That eliminates calling stations (folks who passively call bets no matter what their hands are) and maniacs (mindless aggressors who like to bet and raise). Your ideal "victims" are tight players and those low on chips. These will fold if they believe you have a hand they can't beat.

Bluffing Tip 3 - Bluff the Right Tables

Bluffing works better in a "tight" table than a "loose" one. It's no use bluffing in a table where everybody is calling to the river with ruthless abandon. Also, bluff in high stakes tables. Try bluffing in a low limit table, or worse a play money table, and they will laugh at your face. They may even raise to you just to make you pay for bluffing.

Bluffing 4 - Bluff from the Right Position

It is better to bluff in late position than early. Bluff early and you might find yourself being called by several players with good hands. One may even have a monster and put you in a really sticky situation. But if you are in late position, you can see first if the others check and fold.

Bluffing Tip 5 - Know the Board

The poker board is the row of community cards. A well-coordinated board with three suited cards, three sequenced cards, a high pair and so on are good to bluff with. If it looks like somebody may have a monster, you can pretend as if you have it. Of course, the danger here is that another player may really have that hand and call or raise your bet. This is why it's better to bluff in late position.

Bluffing Tip 6 - Make Sure They Know What a Bluff Is

What this means is, bluff only thinking poker players. Try a bluff on someone who doesn't know or care and you are wasting your time. Don't bluff a total beginner since they are too inexperienced to know when they are beaten. But don't try to be too clever and bluff veterans. Go the middle way. Play your tricks on intermediate players.


Bluffing is just one of many poker tactics. Use it wisely and selectively and to make the bluff work. Just don't overdo it. Bluffing is like acting. If you overact, you cease to be convincing. So do a Marlon Brando and act naturally.