Bluffing in poker is part of the game, sure. But it’s one of the most common areas where people make big mistakes. You can often spot a newbie by their bluffing skills, or lack thereof.

So we’re here to set the record straight. Here are seven things you should keep in mind when you’re playing poker both in real life and online in a poker room like bet365 (bet365 bonus code here, if you’re interested). Avoid the common mistakes, bluff like a pro and know when to refrain.

1. Bluffing in poker is all about pulling the wool over your opponents’ eyes

Right, let’s get back to basics. If you don’t know what bluffing is, it’s simply acting like you’ve one type of hand, when you really have another. Typically, you pretend your hand is way stronger than it is so you can trick your opponents into folding.

2. Loose and aggressive players bluff more than average

Generally speaking, if you play loose, aggressive or like a monkey, you’re more likely to bluff more often. Not sure what type of player you are? Check out our guide to poker personas.

3. Typically passive and tight players can make excellent bluffers

Bluffing is all about catching people unawares. So if you’re usually a tight or passive style poker player, people probably won’t guess that you’re bluffing. Of course, this is a rule of thumb. But our experience is that this generally tends to play out.

4. Frequent bluffing in poker usually ends in disaster

The more you bluff in poker, the more likely you are to get caught out. If you’re the type of player who never backs down from a hand and always wants to beat your opponents into submission, sooner or later, people are going to want to call you out. When you end up in a showdown one too many times with crappy cards, players are going to start to twig you’re a regular bluffer. Then the bluffs simply stop working to your advantage.

5. Folding is often smarter than bluffing

For that reason, a lot of the time, it simply makes sense to fold as opposed to bluffing. You’re minimizing your losses, not giving your opponents more information on your playing style than necessary and saving your bluffs for targeted attacks.

As well as that, folding mid-hand can often be a good idea if your opponents seem like they genuinely have a very strong hand. It only makes sense to bluff when you’re fairly sure everyone’s hands are middling at best.

6. Clever bluffing in poker starts early

To bluff successfully, it’s got to be believable, right? That’s why you should start your bluff early on in the hand. Pre-flop start playing like you’ve got a good hand. On the flop, turn and river, think about what actions make sense for you to make in the context of whatever hand you’re pretending to have.

If you play consistently throughout the hand, it’s going to make way more sense than if you start going crazy on the turn when the cards don’t really make sense. People will cotton on very quickly.

7. Keep pot odds in mind

Whenever you’re playing poker, it’s important to think about pot odds. Because bluffing is inherently risky, pot odds are even more important when you’re trying to trick your opponents.

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