How To Become An Amazing Poker Player: The Art Of Bluff Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

Article by Andy Potts
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Last Updated: Jun 18th, 2024 Share On Your Network:

Across the globe, in casinos and on our screens, poker has won hearts and minds across the decades, and its popularity seems undented by changes like the swap to the digital space. It’s one of the most elegant casino games (we think, anyway), and it seems like we never get tired of watching the most incredible poker legends bluff their way to victory, in a whole range of fashions. Whether we’re at a high-end establishment and admiring other patrons or kicking back with gambling-themed movies like Casino Royale, we’re unquestionably in love with the romance of poker… but we also want to win.

So, how do you win? Well, although some of it’s down to the luck of the cards, the short answer is this: bluff better than your opponent’s bluff. You need to be able to trick the people around you into thinking your hand is exactly what it isn’t – that’s the only way you’ll be scooping up the chips when the deck is laid down. How, though, did you become a poker aficionado? Let’s run through some top tips!

First Up: Know The Game

This might sound obvious but hear us out. A lot of work goes into a good bluff, that’s for sure, but it starts with knowing the game like the back of your hand. You need to have a pinpoint focus on your goal, on exactly what you want your opponents to think – you can’t bluff if you’re not sure what you should want them to think you’re holding! So, the first step is understanding the game as intimately as possible.

Know what you’ve got, what the other possibilities are, and what the different combinations would lead to. If you’ve got a weak hand, how does that change your strategy? If you’re sitting strong – what should you reveal and what should you hide? You’ve got to have a firm grasp of poker for this, and the simple solution here is… practice. The more you practice, the better you know the game, the harder you work, the better your bluffing skills will be, simply because you’ll know what you’re trying to do to trick the people around you!

Go Aggressive

Got a firm handle on the game now, and ready to up the ante? Most advice will tell you to be aggressive. You’ve got to be prepared to play like you’ve got an amazing hand even if your cards are terrible, because if you show they’re bad? You’ll be wiped out before you can blink. A great bluffer shows confidence and decisiveness even with a weak hand, and fools everyone into playing more poorly.

Of course, aggression comes across in a ton of different ways, and depends heavily on whether you’re playing online or in person. One of the great things about online poker is you’ve got fewer tells to give you away while learning – but you should still assume your playstyle matters. Other gamblers will be watching how much you hesitate, what cards you play, and other hints, so you need to be aware of this. If you’re playing some Ignition online poker, for example, you’re still going to want to exude confidence at all times, even though your opponents may not be able to see you!

Breathe Normally

Even something as basic as your breathing can be a tell in an intense poker match – and if you’re face to face with your opponents, it’s a key one to be aware of. Any guide on how to lie effectively (which is basically bluffing) will tell you to keep your breathing steady. However, it could matter more than you think when you’re playing online, too. Why?

When you breathe steadily, you help your body stay calm, oxygenate your brain, and generally improve your ability to play. Your brain needs enough oxygen to make good decisions, whether that’s about which cards to play, when to raise the bet, or when to fold – if you start panting behind your screen because you’re stressed, you’ll be sabotaging you’re playing skills!

Lower The Stakes

We don’t mean this one literally from game to game – but as an overall strategy. You’ll find it way easier to practice bluffing (and therefore to get better) if you’ve only got small amounts of money that you can afford to lose in the game.

Even the pros are more likely to slip up when they’re really invested in the game’s outcome – but if you’ve only got a few dollars on the line and you’re not too worried about the loss, you can detach from the finances and just focus on bluffing well. Sure, some people think the pressure of a high-stakes game will make them better liars, but honestly, piling on the stress isn’t a good way to make yourself lie well… it’s a good way to end up cracking and making a mistake! Keep the stakes low, and you’ve got a much better chance of a successful bluff.

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