When To Bluff
Bluffing is very important, but often over-rated by weak players. A bluff is when you bet and try and win the pot when you have a poor hand, bluffing will only work in some situations. Knowing when and when not to bluff separates the good poker players from the bad players. Bluffs should look natural, and your opponent should not be able to tell the difference between a “bluffed” raise and a bet you would make when you have a strong hand.
It is best to bluff on the flop. On the flop there is large variety of hands you could hold, ranging from top pair top kicker to bottom pair. This gives you a greater chance to take the pot down, as your opponents will fear you having a stronger hand then them. When you have a hand with huge potential, a straight flush draw for example, a bet could be put out as a “semi-bluff”, in this case you don’t mind being called as you have a wide range of “outs”.
Bad players tend to bluff a lot more then they should and tend to think poker is all about bluffing, when in reality it isn’t. For example they hold ace-king pre-flop and make a raise, you call. And as soon as the flop is shown they immediately move all-in. Another example of when not to bluff is when a player is already “pot-committed”, as they are likely to call your bluff.
A “good” bluff would be raising pre-flop with two high cards, Ace-Queen for example, your opponent call’s your raise. The flop comes down 2-6-10 (different suits) now would be perfect for a bluff; it is relatively safe to assume your opponent holds high cards, as he called your raise. It is sensible to place a bet out here, and then to fold if you are re-raised. If you are called, it is best to take caution on the next card as he may be waiting for a straight or a flush.