Poker Tips

Bluffing

One of the grand traditions of poker was developed by the professional cardsharps who made their living in the Mississippi. Bluffing is a way to develop a psychological edge over the other poker players, and should be used as part of a careful strategy to win a reputation, not only a game.

When should you use a bluff? Simply put, when you know the players at your table and understand each one’s strategy and playing style. This means putting in some time at the tables you prefer and studying the regulars.

Once you’ve figured them out, there are certain reasons and situations you can use a bluff successfully.

The first reason to use a bluff is to establish respect from other players. If you succeed in winning a hand based on a good bluff, other players will respect you and not know exactly what to expect from you. Once that happens, you can rule the table.

Look out for the players who fold quickly, because they are the ones who are often expert players and do not often bluff! If they do stay in the game, however, watch out, they are perhaps bluffing. Here you take your chances, because their hand could be solid – make sure you know your opponents.

The trick to bluffing is to use it only when it will be highly effective. If other players get to know you as the guy or gal who bluffs during every other hand, then there’s very little element of surprise.


To Hold or Not To Hold?
Don’t hold four cards of an inside straight—an inside straight is one where the potential straight can be completed only one way. An outside straight is one that can be completed in two ways and so is twice as likely to be successful. The only exception to this rule is an ace-high straight.

• Don’t hold three cards of a straight except for K-Q-J

• Don’t hold three cards of a flush- do not hold three cards of the same suit unless it is also a potential straight flush.

• Don’t hold a kicker with any pair or with three of a kind- a kicker is a single high card (J,Q,K,A) that has the potential to turn into a winning pair.

• The pair or three of a kind should always be played and the kicker discarded.


To Fold or Not to Fold?
Poker experts advise folding often if the hands you are dealt are not promising. This is called ‘playing tight’ and it’s a wise strategy, especially when there are a lot of players at the table.

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