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How to bluff...well!

     Bluffing in poker is an art form, and no poker player can rise above the level of mediocrity without some semblance of a bluffing game. To master the art of bluffing is to know when to bluff, when not to bluff, when to bluff a bluff, and who to bluff against.

Some tips and notes on bluffing:

Don’t have a tell. It almost goes without saying, but a novice player who can’t hide his emotions will get wiped out if he tries to bluff around experienced players. Of course, you could always try to develop a fake tell, in hopes of duping the other players. Good luck with that.

You can’t bluff an entire table. It’s unlikely that you’ll get away with a bluff against four or more other players; one or two of them are bound to stay in just so you don’t win the pot uncontested. The best time to bluff is in a one-on-one or one-on-two situation, when the game has become a battle of nerves.

Beware the better bluffer. Bluffing isn’t a one-sided affair - others at the table will be doing the same thing. Developing your bluffing technique is important, but don’t forget to also study other players. Figuring out when others are bluffing is just as useful as doing it effectively yourself.

Try some half-hearted bluffs. You don’t always have to bluff with nothing. If you have a mediocre hand with some potential, first try to force others out with a bluff. If that fails, there’s still a chance you could make a good hand and take the pot. And once your cards are turned, the other players won’t know if you were bluffing or just overly optimistic.

Don’t fear a discovery. You get to the showdown, and your bluff is revealed for all to see. That pot is lost, but the other players are now wary of your hand strength the next time you start to raise. Is he bluffing again? Maybe I should call just to make sure.

Fear many discoveries. Of course, if you keep bluffing and losing no one will take your bets and raises seriously, and will call you all night. If that happens, and you don’t have luck on your side, your chip stack will quickly dwindle. 

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