Bluffing and Deception in Poker

deceptionEvery poker player’s strategy differs; some play aggressively; some passively; some like maniacs, and others like to mix it up. Usually ones poker playing style has a direct correlation with ones personality. The more aggressive players seem to be a bit extroverted and aggressive in real life as well and so on. I have never ever met a timid person in real life and found him to be aggressive at the poker table. Personality traits carry over to the poker table. If you are a bad liar, forget your chances at ever being good at poker because in order to be successful in this game your actions and your cards are not always going to be telling the same story. The age old saying “play the man and not the cards” holds true here.

In poker and especially in a game like No Limit Hold’em, deception is the key to winning, and uncovering your foe’s deceptions is also crucial to ending up as the winner in the game more often than not. You should think of poker like a war, you will use any weapon you have in your arsenal to win the battle on the felt. If you were to simply only play your good cards then against any observant opponent, you would never get paid off, and because you’re rarely making big hands, it means you’re rarely winning pots.

Being deceptive in the form of bluffing is the name of this game. Playing ABC poker can get you far especially when learning to play poker for the first time. But as part of a solid ABC poker strategy you need to incorporate well-timed bluffs when there is a good chance the other player(s) will fold.

Playing against people who play straightforward in that they check and give up when they have nothing and bet when they have a hand are good targets to bluff against. You can play perfectly against them, as there will be plenty of times when they open raise before the flop but check when they miss. This provides you with an opportunity to steal the pot on the flop or later streets when they either shut down straight away or always give up on the turn when their cbet doesn’t work. As the preflop raiser, you don’t have to worry about straightforward opponents floating the flop or making advanced plays, so if your continuation bet gets called, you can give up knowing you’re beat.

When it comes to bluffing in poker, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Bluffing when you have zero chance to win the pot if you get called is rarely going to be a good idea. Always bluff when you think it’s a profitable play and you have some outs to still win the pot.

All in all, what playing style you choose will be your own, but be sure to note that if you cannot escape your own character traits and take on a new style where your opponents don’t know what to expect, you won’t go far in this game. Bluffing and deception is a big part of playing winning poker, and even when you are bluffing, if you aren’t showing down hands, then your opponents have no reason to think you’re getting out of line, so your bets and raises should still get credit.