Playing poker is fun for people who make it so, but for serious poker players who bet high, it is not just a game, but also a performance that you need to practice and master. One of the strategies for winning is mastering the art of bluffing, to make the other players fold, not knowing whether you indeed have a winning card combination. The art of bluffing, or “faking it” can work for you or against you, depending on how you “perform”. Here are some tips that can increase your chances of winning:
- Check how many players you are up against. If you are playing against three players or less, then bluffing will increase your chances of winning. More than that, you can save your bluffs for later, since it will be more difficult to bluff more people out of the game.
- Keep a cool facial expression. Do not show too much emotion, since this will give away your position. When you frown too much, or when you look worried, your opponents will definitely notice, and they might raise the bet until you fold. If you keep a casual face and appear relaxed, your opponents may start feeling worried, which is an advantage for you.
- Make a bet, or raise a bet. Make a good bet, but not too high as this might work against you when you fold in the end, especially if the bet is already too high. But if the bet is still within a reasonable amount, you can bet consistently to make your opponents believe that you indeed have a good hand. If making another bet is already too risky for you, you can decide to fold and do better in the next rounds.
- Observe the other players’ bluffing style. It pays to be observant, since the other players are probably bluffing too. If you have been playing with the same people for some time, you should already have an idea of their bluffing style. Otherwise, just observe their facial expressions, hand gestures and eye movements. But do not stare, as this may distract you in doing your own bluff. If you are playing with people who are already very good at poker, you should also keep your facial expression as calm as possible, because they too, are reading your bluffing style.
- Do not show your cards when you win. When the rest of the players fold and you win, you need not show them your cards, especially if you really did not have a winning combination but won through an effective bluffing performance. When you do not show your cards, you leave them guessing, which is good since if they find out you were bluffing, that will be additional information for them, and they will know your style the next time you play.
- Play well. Since bluffing is just one of the strategies to winning, learn other strategies in coming up with a good set of cards. Do not depend on one strategy—as they say, do not put all your eggs in one basket.