Bluffing in poker has the ability to make you leap and jump like a kid in a slot machine, to catch your opponent in a perfect lie. Unfortunately, like any good and situational strategy, this is more often used against us than with our opponents.
A prime example of bluffing is when you have a good hand yet you do not want your opponent to call. In these situations you can force him to fold with a continuation bet after the flop. This is a great way to steal a pot from your opponents.
Should you be doing any sort of bluffing and you are successful, you should follow it up with heavy investment into your opponent’s stack. This is known as a turn or river bet. When you bet out in this instance you are telling the table that your flop did not scare your opponent away and you have a strong hand. You want your opponent to call you, but you don’t want to go all in, as you don’t want another player to call along if your turn or river bet is a bluff. Should your opponent does call then you are looking at a coin flip situation. The odds are that your opponent is actually holding a better hand then you.
Your dilemma is whether to show the bluff or not. This all depends on the stage of the hand that you are playing at. For example, you are in the late stages of a multi table tournament and you are looking at a coin flip situation. One player pushes all his chips in and you know that you are beaten. You have done your bluffing playing with hands that at this point don’t even rank anywhere near your best hands. You have told the table that you play top pair, middle pair, and sometimes even draws.
The player that you want to bluff out of the game is the one that pushes all in ahead of you. He is the type of player that you know who calls your c-bet with a a favorable flop and is willing to go all the way to the river to catch a card on the river. This is also the type of player that you want to avoid. The other players will call the turn and river bet for free cards and will reward you for your hard work. This is also the type of player that you want to take out as quickly as possible.
The reason that you want to be avoiding a situation like this is because you are much better off getting a call from the tight player. Should your opponent uses the mirror to call your bet, you are looking at a coin flip situation. Should your opponent does not call, you would probably want to bluff again on the river. This will show mettle and force the other players to make a decision. At this time, unless you have a hand, you are hoping the poker fish will call or perhaps you can trap another player to call for a drawing hand.
The term for the bluff is also called a continuation bet or sometimes a semi-bluff. This is done when there are at least two cards of the flop that have not been bet out yet.
The purpose of the semi-bluff is to try to “keep the pot” if possible. By betting a suspicious amount, you might make the other players think about staying in to see another card. However, the problem is that a later card may hurt you.
For example, should you have 8-7 and the flop comes 4-3-2, you should probably bet out (or check, but say 3-2 would be bet for the sake of simplicity). A later card of the flop such as 5-6-7 against the above hand might make a flush impossible.
Of course, the other complications of pokerrepublik such as betting and folding have their own defined strategies. All in all, when playing poker, it’s best to have a firm grasp of the strategies, otherwise the game can get rary.