Reasons NOT To Bluff In Texas Holdem

Poker For DummiesRemember one thing, bluffing only works if you can get away with it. At a table of 9-10 people trust me that most of the table is looking for opportunities to bluff, and to catch a bluff. Maybe you spot them bluffing in a common situation or they spot you. Bluffing every time is recipe for disaster as you will get caught and lose money. Here are some times when you downright should not bluff.

When Not to Bluff #1- Expectations

Remember you are equipped with this knowledge and you should use it. Often knowing these things can show you who else knows their stuff (and to be careful with those people). I will say it again and again, but KNOW YOUR OPPONENTS! If they are good, they will expect you to bluff in certain situations and catch you on it (like a simple bluff like stealing the blinds). So be careful!

When Not to Bluff #2- Been Caught Recently

If you have already been caught (been called to a showdown on your bluff, and lost) you might want to ride low for a bit and let people forget that ever happened. Start to play straight up without bluffing for a bit, to shake that feeling off. This will also work to your advantage because if you are only playing when you have something, people may call you out thinking your bluffing when you’re not. (a good online poker player can alternate between these identities.)

When Not to Bluff#3- See a Maniac?

Fish and especially Maniacs (Loose Aggressive) love to bluff, and they love to catch a bluff or try to out beat a good hand. Either way if you got a couple maniacs at your table, no way you’re going to get them all to fold with a bluff. It is much more profitable to play straight up in these situations, bluffing only works against a smart player who has some fear about the strength of their own hand.

When Not to Bluff#4- Losing Spree

If you have just had a lot of bad luck and you’re on tilt (or maybe your not, but people will think you are) try to refrain from bluffing, people will assume your pissed and try to grab your money assuming you are making a bad decision. Bluffing in this situation will not have your opponents fooled.

When Not to Bluff#5- Everyone is Still Here

If your goal is to win the pot with one single bluff, don’t do it when everyone is still in the hand. Chances are that someone has something that they want to play with. By bluffing in this situation, you just become meat for that player to eat up. Also from an odds perspective, this is never worth it you are always not in favor.

When Not to Bluff#6- Flop looks good…except you didn’t hit.

Let’s say we have pocket 8’s, and the flop comes it looks great if we had another hand, but we did not hit at all. The flop is K, Q, 9 we can be sure somebody hit a better hand that we have, and it is not worth to bluff because the chance of hitting a set is too low. Also if the flop has an Ace, chances are that someone has a pair of aces. Aces tend to make it beyond pre-flop especially with beginners (they love holding onto those aces).

Posted in Texas Holdem

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Founder/CEO of MDG, professional writer, and sports handicapper as well as small stakes poker player.

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