A bluff is one of the most interesting aspects of the game of poker, because it is the essence of what separates the good players from the bad players and it is also the essence of what separates the great players from the good players. The bad players either do not bluff at all or alternatively have no idea how to bluff properly and end up losing a lot of money at it, while the good players know how to bluff but might make a bad decision under pressure as to when to bluff in a big tournament. The great and world class poker players will bluff on a regular basis, but know how to time their bluffs perfectly so that they work again and again. There are a number of things that you need to learn if you want to become a good poker bluffer and a few of these things are discussed below.

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The pot is a big consideration in your bluffs, because the size of your bluffs in relation to the pot in a lot of different situations will determine whether or not those bluffs can be successful. For example, if you are on the flop and are making a continuation pot, then your bluff should be between one half and two thirds the size of the pot, whereas if you are making a river bluff on the end you will either want to bet a suspiciously small or a suspiciously large amount in order to try and secure the pot. If you are playing against less skilled opponents who have no real reading skills but are knowledgeable about things like pot odds, then you will want to bet big and make it less profitable (or net negative) for them to call. These are all of the circumstances in which considerations about the pot come into play in bluffing.


In addition to pot considerations, timing considerations are also paramount when it comes to the bluff. When you bluff someone, what you are essentially doing is making it so that they can not call your bet either because of the size of your bet, the size of their stack or their lack of confidence in their hand (or in some cases a combination of the three or even all three). Having good timing in bluffs is being able to sense when one of those three factors is big in the mind of your opponent and then using that factor to push them around a little bit.

The size of your opponent's stack and the bet that they have to call relative to their stack is particularly a good way for you to time your bluffs right at the start and if you are playing in a tournament that is close to the money or in the money and slowly creeping upwards, the power of a big stack bluff increases dramatically. Greg Raymer, the 2004 World Series of Poker Champion, literally steamrolled over scores of opponents because of his aggressive play and he pulled off a number of successful bluffs specifically because he was able to masterfully exploit the differing stack sizes between him and most of his opponents.