Bluffing is poker’s magic elixir. It’s the sleight-of-hand where high art and drama reside. It’s the place where myths are made. After all, what’s a western movie without a poker scene with one player trying to bluff another out of a big pot? This is the first of a four-part series on bluffing. Not only will we show you how, when, and why to bluff, we’ll also tell you about some of the most famous bluffs in poker history.
To those who do not play poker, or who have only a nodding acquaintance with it, bluffing is where they focus most of their attention when they think about the game.
Does this conversation ring a bell?
Non-Player: “You’re a professional poker player? Wow; you must have a real poker face.”
Professional Poker Player: “Why do you say that?”
NP: “Don’t you need a poker face because you have to bluff all the time?”
PPP: “Actually, bluffing is only a small part of the game, and good players don’t really bluff that often.”
NP: “Hmmmmmmm, It’s not like that in the movies.”
PPP: [shrugging his shoulders with the resigned weariness of one who’s had similar conversations far too many times] “Well, few things really are.”
What Is Bluffing, Anyway?
Ask most poker players to define bluffing and they’ll tell you about betting a weak hand with the hope of driving other players out of the pot. After all, without bluffing, poker would be a boring game. Bets would be made, and the Unique Casino best hand would win. Always.
Since the cards figure to break even in the long run, without the possibility that someone is bluffing each player would have the same expectation, and when all was said and done, no one would win any money.
But there are winning players and those who lose most of the time.. And it’s often bluffing ¾ or more precisely the possibility that one might be bluffing ¾ that goes a long way toward separating the wheat from the chaff. Bluffing, …