The Art of Bluffing in Poker

the-art-of-bluffing (AFBSportsBook)
the-art-of-bluffing (AFBSportsBook)

If you have played poker, you obviously tried to look at other player’s expressions to predict their hand (unless you’re playing online poker, which all you see is the sexy Croupier). If you do, congrats, you just figured out the most important part of poker.

You probably think that the most important part are the cards, after all, a powerful hand can defeat anyone. This is true,  but what are the odds of you ending up with a good hand every time? what if your opponent have an even stronger hand?

A player always has 4 basic choices; you can check, bet or call, raise, or fold. If you are not getting good cards you can always fold right?

This is not always a good idea as you are literally waiting for money to fall from the sky. You may be leaving large amounts of money on the table in the long run after a few initial folds. Sure you seemingly get away with losing less but you give up the chance to even try.

What is Bluffing?

Bluffing is the art of misguidance and leading your opponents to believe the opposite of the one truth.

how to bluff?

How do you accomplish such a thing? I will borrow a quote from a well known tactician.

“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”
– Sun Tzu

As the quote suggest, simply do the opposite of what you have is enough. If you have good cards act happy. You may not want them to know that you have good cards but it’s a way to change there thinking; now every time you act “happy” they will think you have good cards and may fold.
If you have bad cards and you act happy they might fold because now they are afraid.

What you want to do is create a complicated pattern of sad, happy, indifferent, ecstatic, angry, ETC. Actions for certain hands. You want to throw them off but try and lure them into a safe zone where they think they understand your bluffing pattern and then hit them with the reality. As long as they are trying to keep up with whatever pattern you have, you will have them all under your control.

A Real life Example

In one game of poker I have during a small local tournament. I tried the simple tactic of “poker face”, no matter what cards I get, I kept a solid face without expression. Occasionally when i get a good hand, I would purposely slip some “hints”, like scratching my hair or nose ETC. Others paid attention to my expressions and they assumed that I was the type of rookie that try to conceal my hand but failed. After a few of these “hints”, I started to bluff even with rubbish hands and surprisingly won the tournament.

The moral of this little story is that you have to be creative. If you are interpreted as a predictable newbie, they will let their guard down and your bluff will work like a charm. You can mislead and kill your competition with a good poker face and accident “hint” strategy.


To sum this up :

1. Make yourself look and feel predictable, beware of being too obvious though

2. Be patient and random, after a few “hints”, don’t feel pressure to bluff instantly or keep bluffing.

3. Remember, this tactic only works well if your opponents don’t know you well, so deploy it wisely.

the deciding factor differentiating a pro from a rookie is the ability to bluff their opponents. So the ability to use your body language to your advantage is key to winning at gambling. Hope this little story and guide gave you and idea to bluff on your next game!