Why Not To Bluff
Bluffing is something that should always be used sparingly. No matter how good you are at it, you will never succeed by basing your play on bluffing. There are many times when bluffing would be ineffective, and here is a short outline I have put together that should be a good guideline to follow.
When you are playing with inexperienced players
I for one can tell you that playing a beginner is much harder than a professional. You must always be aware of whom you are playing with, and alter your play accordingly. If you try to bluff a beginner, chances are they are not too familiar with what is a good hand and what is a bad one. I can recall many instances where I sensed weakness in my opponent so I chose to bluff at the pot. They ended up calling my all-in bet with a 6 high to my ace high. They got a six on the river and won. From that point on I realized that bluffing an inexperienced player could become very detrimental.
When you are first to bet, or one of the first
Bluffing is all about timing. If you are one of the first to act after a flop, do not try to take the pot down if there are a lot of people left in the hand right away. It is impossible for you to tell if anyone hit part of that flop or not, so do not try to bluff at it in this position.
After taking one or more bad loses
Do not try to bluff at a pot after losing a big hand right before it. Chances are, you are on tilt and even if you are not, everyone at the table will think that you are and call you more readily. On the other hand, if you are holding a monster, this might be a good time to bet high because of the fact that people may believe you are on tilt.
When there are too many people in the hand
Bluffing is something that is used mainly in a heads up battle or against a few others players. You cannot possibly get a read on every player in the hand if there are a lot. Also the odds are much greater that someone does indeed have a good or decent hand. Always be away of these things because timing is a key component to a good bluff.
When the other players are leading you into it
Many times, players will say things trying to get you to take a stab at the pot. I know you have nothing, betâ€¦ I dare you. Or of they allude to their hand being no good. Wow I got no piece of that flop. These are all times that you may think about not bluffing because people tend to talk when they want to make a play.
When you tried to bluff at an earlier pot
If you tried to bluff at a previous hand that people still remember, do not make another bluff right away. It takes a few hands for the other players to forget about prior hands. This may be a good time to bet very high when you do have a hand because people will be more likely to think that you are bluffing at it again.
When there are high cards in the flop
Even if you are last to act and everyone has checked, many times players will like to slow play high pairs off the flop. This would not be the ideal time to bluff at a pot.