Imagine a player that never bluffs. He sits down at the table and always shows a good hand, when it all comes down to a showdown. It won’t take long before every one at the table will know: this guy never bluffs. As soon as “never bluff guy” makes a raise, or a re-raise, everyone will fold (unless “never bluff guy” does it with a second best hand).
Generally speaking it is correct to start with solid and tight play, make few bluffs, and then show one, if no one ever calls. Do not show your first bluff. I believe you should show fourth or fifth bluff. Let your opponents wonder how many times before you did that to them. That might put them on tilt and set them up beautifully for next time, when you’ll have a monster. Cha ching baby!
There are not many downsides to bluffing when comes to cash games. You can always re-buy if get cut, or you over do it and no one ever believes you have anything. Matter can get worse when even when you actually have a good hand (let’s say AA) and your all in on the flop gets called by a bottom pair, just to get lucky and out draw you on the turn or river. We all’ve been there, believe me. It’s poker baby!
Bluffing is a well-established and time-honored live and online poker strategy. If used correctly it will make you a lot of “enemies” and lots of cash, so bluff away baby!
Please keep these few bluffing tips in mind next time you play live or online:
•Pay attention to the hand and how many players you'll have to bluff through. One or two players can be bluffed away, but you should not try to bluff more than two opponents, unless you really believe you can be successful due to your previous reads.
•You should bluff if all of your opponents check on the previous betting round, when it seems like “no one wants it”. It is especially valid with large pots. Usually made hands try to protect themselves on the flop, when multiple opponents are involved. Such already made hands will try to bet others off of a weaker hand or possible draws.
•Bluff does not have to work every time to make it the correct decision. Bluffing has to work only some of the time to be the right choice. As I mentioned earlier, even when you're caught from time to time, a bluff is successful if it causes your opponents to call when you are value betting a strong hand.
•Bluffs that seem to represent specific hands, such as a straight or a flush, have a much better chance to be successful than bets that make no sense, like over betting the river when really strong hands would usually make a much smaller bet for value.
•Avoid bluffing very good or very bad players. Weak players will usually call just "to keep you honest," while very good players will most likely see through your bluff and call you.
•It's much easier to bluff weak or distracted players. Players that check often are considered "weak", players texting, reading or talking to someone during hand are considered “having fun” = distracted. They usually do not want to make tough calls or make the wrong ones that may embarrass them at the table.
•Don't bluff to "advertise" yourself as a lose player (I see this every day at the online poker sites). There's no need to do that. Bluff only if you believe you have a reasonable chance to succeed, because of your read on your opponent or you position. Even than you'll get plenty of advertising value because some of your bluffs will be called anyway, especially online.
•Tight and aggressive image gives you the best chance for successful bluffs. If you are seen as selective, tight, and aggressive player, your opponents will not suspect a bluff when you bet. Lose player, or player with “lose” image, will get called often, and bluffing will become unprofitable.
•It is not advisable to bluff a hopeless hand when there are more cards to come. Instead, think about Semi-bluffing is a much better option. It may allow you to win the pot in two different ways: your opponents may simply fold his draw or weak pair, or you might get there, hit your draw and win much inflated pot.
•Attempt a bluff occasionally you should attempt a bluff when all the cards are out and you have air, but try to not overdo it. But if you believe you have enough to beat a draw with a high card, save that additional bet and try to win in a showdown.