Bluffing is a little too popular in poker. Most new poker players think that the reason professional poker players are so good is that they’re good at bluffing other people and knowing when they’re getting bluffed.
In truth, bluffing is a small part of poker that should only be used to vary your play to make you less readable. You should rarely bluff with nothing. Here are several situations where bluffing is okay.
The continuation bet (a.k.a C-bet) is the king of all bluffs. A c-bet is when a player raises pre-flop and then bets the flop to continue their aggression. When you raise pre-flop, you’ll miss the flop about 2/3 of the time, so c-betting disguises your hand so your opponents don’t know when you hit and when you miss.
Blind steals are popular in high limit games and in tournaments during the middle and high blind stages. A blind steal is where someone in late position raises with a weak hand like A5s or KT in the hopes that the blinds will fold and they’ll pick up the pot without a fight. It’s important to execute this bluff with a decent hand so you have a chance of flopping something worth playing if you get called.
Semi-bluffs are bluffs you make when your hand has a high probability of improving by the river.
Here’s an example:
SB: 1690 chips
BB: 950 chips
The action folds around to the small blind who limps.You’re the big blind and check with 89 clubs. The flop comes down 5TA with two clubs on the board. The small blind min-bets 100 into the 200 chip pot and you re-raise all in for the rest of your chips.
You’re semi-bluffing. You don’t have the best hand now, but you could by the river.
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Bluffing is overrated in poker. If you’re going to bluff, do it with a decent hand and at the right time.