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Bluffing in No Limit Hold’em Cash Games

Bluffing is defined as raising or betting with an inferior hand in an attempt to get your opponent to fold so that you win the pot. Bluffing is a very important part of being a winning player because it keeps your opponents guessing. If you bet every hand the same depending on the strength of your cards, your opponents would know exactly how to beat you and you would be a pretty horrible poker player. In no limit cash games bluffing is especially important because you can put much more pressure on your opponents that in a limit game. When you make a big bet, and force your opponent to risk a lot of their chips, they are going to think twice before making the call.

Bluffing is not a guessing game, like many beginner poker players think. There are some very good situations to try a bluff and then there are some horrible situations where you should realize that a bluff will not work. Bluffing is a poker art form and you have to make sure that your bluff makes sense to both you and your opponent. When trying a bluff there are many things to consider including your opponents tendencies, your opponents play in the hand, the board cards and your own play in the hand up to this point. Remember the ideal bluff tells a story. Like any story there should be a beginning, middle and an end.

Most times when you are making a large bluff it should be against a single opponent because when there are more opponents there is a greater chance that you will get called. The ideal opponents to bluff against are tight players who only like to play when they are confident they have the best hand. Against these players a bluff is often a good play, but if they reraise you should run because they have a monster. You should avoid bluffing against calling stations or very loose players.

The way your opponent has played the hand will also often indicate if they are weak. For example, if your opponent raised the flop, but checked the turn this is a good time to bluff if you have position. Another example would be if your opponent makes a bet that is very small relative to the pot. This often means the opponent is trying to steal the pot while risking as little as possible. Look for these betting tells and you will be on your way to taking down some easy pots.

If you’ve been calling or checking and a scare card comes on the turn or river this would often be a good time to bet and represent the hand that the scare card would have made. For example if there are four cards of the same suit on board you can often take down the pot with a bluff that is representing that you hit the flush.

Representing a hand is very important when bluffing in poker. It’s not good enough just to bluff when you haven’t given your opponent any reason to put you on a good hand. Your play in the hand has to tell a story that your opponent will believe. When deciding if you should bluff think back to the decisions you made throughout the hand. Then think if you would have made those decisions if you were holding the hand you are going to try to represent. If the answer is yes then there is much greater chance that your opponent will believe that you have to hand you are representing and decide to fold.

Bluffing is an art form and it is a very important aspect of no limit hold’em cash games. Remember to pick your spots and make sure your bluffs make sense. If you do these two things you will be able to pick up a lot of pots that your hands don’t deserve.

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