Updated: Mar 3

A quick guide on the often misused art-form - The Bluff


You should probably never use the word never in poker, but beginning poker players should never bluff.

Bluffing only works against players who know when to fold, who are the kinds of players who generally make good decisions. You don’t often find this scenario in low-limit poker. Play premium starting hands and employ proper strategy in low-limit and you will go far.

Bluffing rarely works in low-level games where it is very common to see inexperienced players flogging bad hands all the way up to the call.


Now you can start occasionally mixing in what is know as the "semi-bluff" or bluffing with outs. A quick example:

You hold K9s and the flop comes A 9 4 rainbow. It’s checked all the way around. Here you make a Pot-sized bet suggesting you have an Ace, in the hopes that everyone will fold, but if not you still have 99, which may win the hand for you.

However, you must pick your spots carefully. Again, as in low limit bluffing; a bad player can be a lesson in futility. Bluffs work best against good players who know when it’s best to lay down a hand.

In the scenario above a poor player with K10 may call your bluff. He hits a 10 on the river and you’re out of the pot. Watch carefully and seize the right moment, letting your instinct and experience guide you.


Doyle Brunson has this to say about bluffing, “First, it’s highly overrated, and second, it is absolutely essential to be a winning player.”

Nothing hurts worse in poker than playing great, building a big stack, then throwing half of it away on a poorly timed bluff. Yet, there is no way to dominate a game or tournament without bluffing, so it is a skill that needs to be employed artfully.

Here is one example of a good bluff. You raise to open the betting, a tight player just calls. You surmise that this player would only call with AQ, AJ, etc. You are hoping that with a pocket pair he would have re-raised you. The flop comes 468. You are sure this tight player had none of this flop. You then make a pot-sized bet that he cannot call with Ace high. He has to fold or put his stack at major risk. If he's good enough, he knows that you may have even flopped a set here, and he would be a huge underdog if he were to continue.

He has to fold.

In this instance your bluff has worked. Now if the flop had been AJ9, it would be a whole different ballgame. Here you make maybe a bet equaling two-thirds of the pot, and if called or re-raised, the hand is over for you.

He's hit a part of it, and now you’re the one who is the underdog.

Get out!

Notice we never talked about what cards you held in the 2 possible hands. They didn’t matter. You were playing the other player’s cards. The fact that you were sure he missed or hit the flop is the determining factor, not what your cards were.

This is, of course, a very simplistic explanation, but this is the type of situation that you are looking to put an opposing player into, one that you control.

If you're really interested in winning more, you should look into using a poker HUD, check this article out for more info -


How to manage your money when playing poker

Let’s begin with the obvious; it’s important when playing poker not to go broke. Your bankroll needs to be large enough to survive the droughts between winning hands and the bad beats in between them as well. Most experts recommend 200-300 times the big bet as a starting point for internet play, the high side for limit play and maybe a little less for Omaha or no-limit.

Internet poker actually requires a larger bankroll than live poker due to having a smaller edge over your opponents. Tells are fewer and far less reliable. Is that a housewife playing for the first time calling your bet or a seasoned pro?

You'll never know in Internet poker.

You'll need a larger bankroll to overcome this edge reduction factor. Second, you'll be playing far more hands per hour on the net. A fast-paced player at a 6-player table can play a hundred hands in an hour. There are also 9 and 10 player tables each with a speed difference. Want to play 2 tables at once? You'll need to double your bankroll requirements.

These requirements can only grow as more of the fish bust-out and you find yourself playing more and more against the sharks of the poker world. 500-1000 times the big bet is not an unrealistic requirement. Playing at an appropriate limit is of course very important.

Having a bankroll properly sized for the stakes you are playing will help you weather the storms ahead. Get in over your head and you can expect to find yourself drowning in no time. Some players make the mistake of starting at too high of a stake, getting a little lucky winning a bit, then experience the inevitable losing. The only way to recover is to drop down to a lower limit, but it will take twice as long now to recover the losses from the higher limits. You can easily dig yourself into quite a hole.

Fifty times the big bet is a common downswing, even for professional players, and nothing to become too concerned about if you are still playing well. However, if you start with only 100 times the big bet, and you are down 50 big bets, you have lost 50% of your bankroll. If you had started with 300 big bets and were down 50, you will have only lost roughly 17% of your bankroll.

Certainly start out with less if you have regular income and can replenish your bankroll later to continue playing. Just don't be too surprised if it happens to you. Of course, it goes without saying: don't play with any money that you can't afford to lose. Don't even think about going to the poker game in order to make up some money to pay your bills! The short-term fluctuations are just too big, and the stress will make it that much worse.

Remember that we're all playing for the fun of it as well as the moneymaking opportunities; don't let the lack of good bankroll management take all the enjoyment out of the game for you.

What are the Consequences Regarding Online Poker Accounts in the Event of Death?

Now, let us begin by saying that we hope you live a long and happy life and are not bringing up this topic just to be morbid. In a recent unscientific poll, I discovered 7 out of 10 players, including both men and women, have absolutely no provisions in place regarding their online poker accounts should they die unexpectedly.

Playing online poker is usually a solitary affair. Wives do not necessarily know which rooms their husband may be playing, the size of his bankroll, or any of the passwords to his poker accounts.

Some may not even be aware of Neteller, or any of the other choices for funding online poker accounts.

This may be intentional secrecy on the husband’s part, or, in a lot of cases, merely lack of interest.

No matter what the reason, should the husband die, his beneficiaries may stand to lose an additional chunk of their inheritance due to being in the dark regarding the details of the deceased’s online gaming activity.

Moreover, none of them knew what their favorite poker site’s policy was concerning this issue. Everyone we asked said, “good question,” as if it were something they had never given much thought to.

So we decided to find out what policies online poker rooms have in place and to gather suggestions and recommendations as to what players can do to insure their bankrolls will not fall into limbo as a result of an untimely death.

Most of the major rooms contacted regarding this issue outlined a similar procedure that is remarkably simple for dealing with this issue. They regularly audit accounts and when an account goes inactive for a period of time, they contact the player to see what’s going on.

This is mainly for customer satisfaction purposes to see if there is a reason the player is no longer playing on their site. In this way, they would be likely to uncover the fact that the individual has died and they would then instruct the family members as to the procedure for collecting whatever funds lying dormant in the specific account.

Usually this would amount to providing a copy of a death certificate and proving their relationship to the deceased.

Additionally, the recommendations from the experts on how players could protect themselves were very similar as well:

1. Keep a list of all the rooms you have accounts with along with the passwords.

2. Keep the account balances of each up to date.

3. Put your spouse’s name on your bank account, giving them access to your online funding source.

4. If you do not want your spouse’s name on the bank account, be sure they can access it in the event of your death.

5. If you do not wish to reveal these things, document the above and put in an envelope to be opened in the event of your death.

6. Everyone should make a will and include any online accounts and their passwords.

So that’s pretty much it.

As a pointy-eared TV alien was fond of saying, “Live long, and Prosper,” but in the end, just make sure that some online poker site doesn’t wind up with your hard-earned stake.