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Advanced Poker Strategy - Bluffs And BluffingEveryone wants to bluff. Just think of all those times you've watched a movie where everyone's playing poker and the cool guy with the cigar in his teeth lays down those horrible cards everyone else just folded to. Isn't that great? Well, the thing is, it usually doesn't work that way. Bluffing can be very effective, but only at certain times, and at other times it can get you INTO trouble instead of out of it. So if you aren't Paul Newman, read on.

The best times to bluff are few, but if you do them right, and at the right time, you should be okay.

When a lot of the other players have already folded and there's only a few people left in the hand is a good time to try, mainly because it's easier to fool two people than five or six. The problem is that this is a pretty obvious trick, so they probably know what you're up to. When you're playing against tight players start your bluff early, in the pre-flop or flop, and you might scare them off. Tight players usually fold to begin with, though, so don't expect to win any huge pots off of them. And if they DON'T run away, then maybe YOU should because they've probably got a monster hand. If you bet big in the pre-flop and didn't pull what you'd hoped to, just remember: the other players don't know you didn't get the cards you were hoping for, so you might get a couple of them here. And if you've just won a big hand through obviously good play, play your next hand the same way and they might assume you've got another monster and fold. Don't use these tricks too often, though, or your opponents will end up spotting them a mile away.

Never bluff just for the sake of bluffing because that's when it's bound to backfire on you. Don't bother bluffing if you've just been caught in a bluff, when there are a lot of players at the poker table, or if you've been losing a lot of hands and they're expecting you to.

Now, these ARE pretty common bluffs: most players worth their salt already know all about these, and they may even be using the same tricks against you, so be careful and keep your eyes open. You should always make sure you know the players you're up against, know what they will and won't fold to, know what traps they'll fall for, things like that.

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