The Bluff In Texas Holdem
Many people will tell you that the bluff isn’t what it used to be as a Texas holdem poker strategy. They are right in some aspect. That’s because when people think about the word bluff, they picture taking a completely unwinnable hand, playing it all out, and fooling the rest of the table into thinking they have something akin to a royal flush. While this makes for a great movie scene, and perhaps it used to be a more widely attempted Texas holdem poker strategy, using a much more subtle bluff has a higher likelihood of reaping rewards.
Bluffing as a poker strategy these days isn’t usually very dramatic. Perhaps you have a decent hand, and you notice one of your opponents continues to bet but does so tentatively. Maybe you even know from past play that this person is generally more eager when they have a good hand. So you play your hand harder than it deserves, and see if you can scare the other player out of the game. While not nearly as dramatic as what many people have in mind, this strategy is technically a bluff.
Another Texas holdem poker strategy which isn't technically bluffing is to do the opposite: play a strong hand in what appears a tentative fashion to lure opponents into betting more on their hand. Your normal strategy may look like this: you have a pair of pocket kings, and another king shows up in the flop. Now say the other two cards in the flop are a 2 and 8 off suit. You can’t think of what your opponent could have with those cards that would beat your three kings. If you want you can go all-in on the flop, but you make it quite obvious you know your hand is strong, and possibly get everyone else to fold. You win but it's a small pot.
Now imagine this Texas holdem poker strategy: you decide not to go all in at the sight of the flop. Instead you check back the flop, giving the other players the impression that you do not like your hand. They may be more likely to play the hand out, keep adding money to the pot, and when you win it will be an even more profitable victory.
By checking the flop with your monster hands,it also allows you to check when you have nothing, and your opponents can't be sure that you have nothing just because you checked. That way you gain information on what the other players will do on the flop, if you sense weakness yourself you can steal the pot on the turn with a well timed delayed continuation bet.
Are either of these a foolproof Texas holdem poker strategy? I wish! Poker is about gambling and taking chances, so no Texas holdem poker strategy is going to be without risk. But keep the basics of these bluffing styles in mind and if you play well enough you will find a situation to use them.
Bluffs tend to work better when you play at a poker website with better-than-average players. Those poker websites also tend to give you less bad beats because better players will respect your raises more than donks will, so as counter-intuitive as it may sound - choosing a room and a level where players are stronger will often give you better results (and less pain when you get called by a guy with only two outs who rivers his miracle card). One of the rooms which works best for you if you are a strong player is Full Tilt Poker. Especially on the higher cash game levels, you will find more "thinking" players here, and if you are good enough and pick your bluffing spots right, a bluff will work more often than not.
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