Online Gambling
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Bluffing in Poker

Without the ability to practice bluffing, a poker player is relying almost entirely on chance. You have no power to determine the cards dealt in a hand, but this does not mean you have no say in the final outcome. To take control of the game, a player has to depend upon his or her own aptitude for deception. "Bluffing" is the practice of convincing other players that your hand is better than theirs when in fact it is weak.

Odds are that even the most fortunate player will frequently be dealt poor hands, but these can be the perfect occasion to bluff and win a pot. Caution must be used however, in selecting when to bluff and when to fold. The key is to sway the other players into thinking your hand is strong enough to defeat theirs, while recognizing that players may have a strong enough have to play through. A successful bluff means you must show confidence in your hand and the best way to do so is to raise the pot. If, therefore, the pot is already high and other players are still raising it, this might not be the best time to attempt a bluff. Instead, wait until a time when the pot remains small. Not only will you lose less if the bluff fails, but the fact that others are not raising the pot reveals their own lack of confidence in their hands making a bluff much more likely to succeed.

Also take into consideration the number of players at the table. The fewer the players, the more appropriate bluffing becomes. Remember, a bluff only works if all the players are fooled. You must be capable, not only of tricking every player, but taking care to be sure none of them are preparing any tricks of their own. It is also probable that the more players there are in a game the better the chance is that one of them will be displaying sincere confidence in a genuinely good hand.

Never forget when playing at a casino that basic bluffing techniques become far more difficult to perform successfully. Casino poker players are essentially professionals. They understand how to familiarize themselves with your style before even approaching the table to play. They not only recognize the signs you use to give away that you are bluffing (habits and body signals also referred to as "tells") but know how to falsify their own, throwing the casual player off track.

Spotting bluffs during online play is not as easy. Without the visual assistance, you must rely upon other giveaways to guess what your opponents are thinking. Look for habits in their readiness to raise a pot and other practices that uncover a players individuality. You should become familiar with the idiosyncrasies of every poker site where you play. Various sites will have different ways to get around the lack of physical presence between players.

There are some hands that are best left to folding. Bluffing is not a guarantee to winning the pot, but a tool to prevent losing every time a hand is not what you had hoped. Your goal cannot be to win each time, but to make the most of every hand. Overuse of bluffing will allow the other players to spot your "tells" more rapidly until bluffing no longer works at all. If the other players do wise up to your bluffing style, the best way to confuse them again is to pretend to bluff when in fact you have a good hand. The other players, assuming a bluff, will raise the pot. When the hands are revealed and you win the pot, they will be puzzled and wonder if they can recognize your bluffs after all. Always remember that keeping the other players off guard is the only way to bluff effectively.


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