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Every poker player understands the power of bluffing, and just about every poker player has tried his or her hand at it. Few players, however, are really good at bluffing, and the best players know how to use it sparingly but properly. Learning to bluff properly takes some time, and it requires a careful study of the other players in the game.



Those who wish to learn when and how to bluff must first study the behavior of their opponents in the game. Understanding the betting habits of those around you is essential to executing a well-timed and successful bluffing strategy. The first step is to establish yourself as a consistent poker player, as this will demonstrate to the other players that you know what you are doing. Establishing your own table character is an essential first step to a successful bluffing strategy.


After you have established your own table character, and after you have gotten a good read on the behavior and betting strategy of your opponents it is time to execute the first bluff. Perhaps you have found that two of your opponents are quick betters, who will raise their first bets, while two other opponents are more conservative. Perhaps these conservative players will already have folded or called, and this sets up the ideal bluffing situation.



It is best to start with a conservative raise to avoid scaring off the other players. If those you have identified as quick betters again raise, you are ready to start betting more aggressively with the hopes of either raising the pot or scaring away the more conservative players.


At this point in the game, the successful bluffer will use the knowledge of the other players in the game to decide to fold or call. Those novice players often branded as maniacs will be too entranced by the size of the pot to back out, and this is exactly the outcome you are aiming for.


The perfect bluffing strategy is often called the semi-bluff. This strategy can be used when you are holding a pair of low value cards that may offer a chance at winning against the maniac in the game by simply waiting for the other players to fold.



Using a well-executed bluffing strategy will help the poker player with strong hands as well as weak ones, since you have now demonstrated your ability to bluff successfully with the other players in the game. In addition, the successful bluffer will be able to get deeper into the game even when holding an average hand, since he or she will be confident in the ability to play well against another bluffer. Becoming a proficient bluffer will also help you with your ability to read the other players in the game, as well as help you spot other bluffers.


Good poker players know that bluffing is not appropriate in every situation, but when used sparingly and well a well-executed bluffing strategy can increase both your enjoyment of the game and the size of your profits.