Knowing when to bluff in Texas Hold’em

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Posted on: May 12, 2020 8:05 pm EDT

Bluffing is more than just a blind attempt to steal the pot

There are basic concepts when playing poker that is important for all players to get a handle on. One of the most basic concepts – and one that has become very popular – is bluffing. Many online poker sites and forums are dedicated to talking about this skill quite often. It makes sense, as it is one big part of the poker game, especially for Texas Hold’em. Sometimes a well-timed bluff can make you a lot of money, but it is not as simple as lying – there is a trick. Knowing when to pull a bluff and what you can get from it can make a difference between winning and losing.

For some pro players, the best reason to bluff is to force the other player to fold. This is a skill that can be improved noticeably by learning other skills like reading poker ranges. When there is fold equity among players, bluffing can force the other players to fold, depending on the circumstances. For instance, from an early position, a player has pocket AQ and gets called by the button. The flop is a 3-5-7. Bluffing in this situation makes no sense, as this flop has no connection whatsoever with the cards in hand. On the other hand, how your opponent sees your range can help you understand easily why this is not a good hand to bluff with. You are risking that the opponent made a nice connection with the flop; therefore, losing could be right around the corner.

The best possible scenario to bluff will be when there is some kind of fold equity. However, it is important to consider having at least a half-decent hand in case you get called by your opponent. Remember that the best use of bluffing is to force another player to fold not to take the hand all the way to the river.