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Bluffing

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Part 4
Ten Tips to Better Bluffing

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Ten Tips to Better Bluffing

These ten tips will help you become a better bluffer. All were culled from the four-part series on bluffing.

Bluffing is tricky business. You never know for sure if you'll be called, or if you'll be able to steal a pot out from under your opponent's nose. The next time you're inclined to perform larceny at the poker table, keep these ten tips in mind.

1 Be aware of how many players you'll have to bluff your way through. While one or even two players can be bluffed, unless you really have strong reasons to believe you'll succeed, just don't think about trying to bluff more than two opponents.

2 A bluff doesn't have to work to make it the correct decision. After all, you're usually just risking one bet to win an entire pot full of bets. Bluffing only has to work some of the time to be the right choice. And even when you're caught, a bluff can be successful if it causes opponents to call when you are betting a strong hand.

3 Avoid bluffing players who are either experts or brain dead. Instead, aim your bluffs at good opponents. Poor players will usually call "…to keep you honest," while experts are more likely to see through your chicanery.

4 Some players will bluff just to "advertise." There's no need to do that. Bluff if you believe you have a reasonable chance to succeed. You'll get plenty of advertising value because some of your bluffs will be picked off regardless of how well you assess your chances for success.

5 Never bluff a hopeless hand when there are more cards to come. Instead, think about semibluffing, which allows you to win the pot two ways: Your opponents may fold, or you might hit your draw.

6 If all of your opponents check on the previous betting round, it's a good opportunity to bluff. It's even better if they've all checked on an expensive betting round. But you chances are diminished if the newly exposed cards appear to have helped one of your opponents.

7 Bluffs that seem to represent specific hands, such as a flush or a straight, have a much better chance to succeed than bets that appear to come out of the blue.

8 It's much easier to bluff players who have shown weakness by checking, than to bluff those who have shown strength by betting on the preceding round.

9 If you play the kinds of starting hands recommended in Hold'Em Excellence and MORE Hold'em Excellence, you'll have a tight, aggressive image. This kind of image has a much better chance of running a successful bluff than a player with a loose image. If you are seen as selective, tight, and aggressive, your opponents will not suspect a bluff when you bet. When you have a license to steal, use it.

10 When all the cards are out, you can attempt a bluff if you have nothing. But if you have enough to beat a draw, save that additional bet and try to win in a showdown.

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