Mastering the Bluff in Poker

Some of the world's best poker players are also the world's best bluffers. The ability to successfully pull off a bluff in the face of your opponents can be the difference between a big win and a big loss, and will almost always give you the upper hand. What follows are some tips for how to hone your bluffing skills and improve your game.

Read Your Opponents

One if the best ways to master the bluff is to pay close attention to other players. By learning their own moves (and their own bluffs), you can get a sense of their style of play and their routines, and then use this to your advantage. If you notice that a player will always fold in a certain situation, for example, try to bluff your way into creating such a hypothetical situation, and force them out.

Knowing When You Shouldn't Bluff

Improving your bluffing strategy also requires some degree of restraint. If, after analyzing your opponents moves, you notice that a certain player will always call at a specific time during the game, don't try to bluff at that point, since they will likely call regardless of how convincing you are. It's also a good idea to be cautious with the bluff at a table of loose players, since they can be more unpredictable.

Bluffing is most successful during traditional poker games of significant length. Rush poker games are not the best opportunities to practice your bluffing, since the pace of play makes this skill almost unnecessary in these instances.