MCU poker tip: A good time to bluff

One of the best times to bluff is when an opponent is staring you down, reaching for his chips, or otherwise threatening to call. While opponents who are trying to discourage your bet by threatening to call might actually call, they don’t have hands powerful enough to raise.

So, what remains are usually hands that they will be reluctant to call with. They will either call reluctantly or fold.

Taking a chance

Many times in no-limit poker games — and most times in limit poker games, where the size of the pot dwarfs the size of the bet — an opponent acting in this matter will fold often enough to give your bluff attempt an expectation of profit. It’s worth taking a chance.

Simply: When an opponent is conspicuously threatening to call, it’s an act. That act is intended to prevent your bet. You won’t be raised, except very rarely by sophisticated opponents who think you’re likely to try taking advantage of their faked tell — and that reverse bit of acting almost never happens.


So, if you hold a medium-strong hand in such situations, you obviously should bet. You won’t be raised and you’ll usually win if you’re called.

If you hold a garbage hand, consider attempting a bluff. If you’re called, you’ll lose. But opponents threatening to call probably will fold often enough to make most bluffs profitable. — MC

Published by

Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.


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