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Poker Tips: The Art Of Bluffing

Written by:   Bob Bastian

In the game of poker, to bluff means to bet or raise with a hand that either is or is believed to be inferior. Though poker is a game of chance, strategy plays a considerable role in winning or losing. Though the outcome of your game is often only as good as the hand you are dealt, how you use that hand can impact the outcome. This is where bluffing can come in. If you are able to convince your opponents that you have an inferior hand, they might decide to fold, and only then will they find out your hand isn't what they thought it to be.

The bluff is an important strategy of any poker game, but is more likely to come into play more in some games than in others. This is because a bluff is intended to represent a strong hand when, in fact, the one you have is likely to be weaker than that of your opponents. Being able to convince them you have a strong hand is a skill that, if used properly, can help you out in difficult situations.

Though you can bluff in just about any game, bluffs are often stronger in pot-limit and no-limit games, because opponents will probably have worse pot odds, as well as the threat of larger bets in future betting rounds if any exist.

Bluffing is less common in limit poker because often times, if you do not have the hand you represent, one of your opponents does.

In a game played with a fixed limit betting structure, otherwise known as fixed limit poker, players choose only whether or not to bet. The amount is fixed by rule. To enable the possibility of bluffing, the amount usually doubles at some point during the game. This is often referred to as a big bet.

It is important to be able to recognize if your opponents are bluffing, which is sometimes possible if you learn how to spot poker tells. These are expressions and gestures players often have that indicate different things. For example, a player might take on a certain facial expression every time he or she is bluffing. If you play with that person often, you will come to recognize this and will know whether or not they have that great hand. Sometimes, however, it isn't possible to know whether or not someone is bluffing so you have to decide whether or not to take the chance.

One of the best secrets to bluffing is doing it without any visible sign that you are. Be aware of your expressions and gestures, and be careful how often you bluff. You don't want people to assume you are always bluffing. Develop your skill and it just might work for you.

About the Author
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