Bluffing in Texas holdem is definitely more of an art than a science. Certain players are much easier to bluff. The key is figuring out who those players are.
One type of player that you can bluff consistently is someone who respects you as a player. If a player thinks you play poker well, you can often get them to lay down better hands by showing strength.
Let’s look at a hand example at a nine-handed $4/$8 limit table at my local casino.
I had been playing on the same table for about six hours. Everyone on the table played at least 40% of their hands except me. I was playing less than 25% of my hands. The player on my right noticed this. He told me because of my discipline and tight play, I could make a living playing poker. Also, whenever I entered a pot, I noticed that he would fold much more quickly. I sensed that he thought I always had a strong hand because I was much more picky than other players with the hands I played with.
I wasn’t very confident on whether I would win and so remained at one table and that’s perhaps because my hand hasn’t been as big as others’ hands and my luck didn’t shine on me in the past few games due to which I lost nearly a fortune and was contemplating going back to playing dominoqq.
I was thinking about these things when this hand came up.
I was in the cutoff seat (the seat to the right of the button) with King-Queen offsuit. Someone limped from early position and the player on my right, let’s call him Bob, limped too. I raised. The button and small blind folded. The big blind called, the early position player called, and Bob called.
The flop came: King – 8 – 2 with three different suits.
Everyone checked to me and I bet my top pair. The big blind and early position player folded. Bob called.
The turn showed an Ace in the fourth suit. Bob scanned the board and then calmly bet. Based on Bob’s previous plays, I was pretty sure he had an Ace. Normally, I would just call the turn and hope to improve on the river. However, because Bob respected my play, I quickly raised him instead.
He was pretty surprised at my raise. He looked at the board and you could see the wheels turning in his head. He didn’t like his hand anymore. He hesitated for a bit and then finally called. Because of his hesitation, I decided right then to confidently bet out any non-Ace river.
The river was a harmless 3. He quickly checked and I quickly bet. He thought for a bit and then folded. I collected the pot, threw my cards in the muck, and told him, “Good fold. I had pocket eights.”