OK, we got you: bluffing is one of those topics that poker fans will debate into the ground, any day of the week. Some people are really good at bluffing, so they obviously advocate for more bluffing, all of the time. Other people are bad at it, so they tell you that bluffing is for suckers. That isn’t the point of this article. All of you are independent poker players. You can play any way that you want, but it’s to your best interest to look at your strategy for any inconsistencies.
One inconsistency that we see often in terms of poker mistakes would have to be bluffing. You can’t bluff your way to the top. It works when it works, but when people catch on, it can easily swing in the other direction. Here’s why bluffing can be a big mistake:
1. Lack of Poker Reputation
If you haven’t cultivated the right image at the poker table, your bluff isn’t going to work. People will see right through it and call you out, or fire back at you with a re-raise. If you have to put more chips in the pot to stay in because of the river, you’re setting yourself up for a really rough go of things. Never put yourself in a position where you have to pray for the river to give you what you’re really looking for. If you do that in a bluffing situation, it actually makes you look very “donk”-like. You’re telling players at the table that you don’t make good decisions, which can set you up as the next target to devour.
2. You’ve Got Terrible Cards
Bluffing shouldn’t be about putting trash out there in the open. You should have at least something that can make a decent hand. We’re not saying that you have to bluff with AA or something like that, but trying to pass off 83o as something special is going to be tricky.
3. You’re Out of Position
Position is always going to play a role in whether or not your bluff is believed. If you’re in mid position, a small raise can push people out of the pot, but if you don’t raise again then the ruse is already over.
4. You Have a Small Stack
Most people wait to bluff only when they’re in danger, and that signals to people that you’re desperate. If you’re bluffing in this stage, you might want to stop doing that. It all links back to the image that you set. Bluffing when you’ve got a big stack and when you’ve got a smaller stack reminds them that you can mix it up at any time.
Change your image for the better and watch everything come together for your good — just try it!