It’s all about the bluff: Poker and other card games

Tuesday, Sep 27, 2016 15:11

Why do we bluff?


The answer to this question may seem obvious. We try to extract money from our opponent, by pretending that we have bad cards. For a better word though, it’s more the creation of confusion that poker players aim at when bluffing. Rather than mere pretence, bluffing in card games involves assessing if your opponent has the required sensitivity to detect bluffing. Sometimes it involves pretending to bluff, even if your cards aren't top-notch. Card games are a war of information so to speak, and a good card player knows how to throw off his opponents.

The tactic of bluffing is of particular importance when players play for high sums. At a lower level, the concentration is mainly placed on cards. This, however, makes these games the ideal environment to practice your bluffing in card games.

With every increase in the pot, the importance of bluffing increases and your cards, no matter how strong, will not suffice to win the big money.

Furthermore, without bluffing, games such as poker would not have such a great appeal, for players and spectators alike. A player who bluffs risks, by default, to be caught out. This makes the game great fun.

Why are some players better at bluffing?


The answer to this is logical. Poker players, renowned for their great bluffing, for example, Phil Ivey, assess the game. Instead of focusing solely on his own cards, the poker player considers what he sees at the table and evaluates it in relation to his hand. It is critical to understand how a player with a large stack of chips will react. This requires both a knowledge of your opponent, and a general knowledge of human psychology can help if you are not familiar with the individual. It is likely that a player with a large stack will grow in confidence. With that knowledge in mind, you may want to trick him into believing that he can outsmart you, and bluff when he least expects it.

If on the other hand, a player has few chips in his stack, he is forced to call every bet. In this scenario bluffing is senseless. If you have been caught bluffing, it is likely that players will no longer believe you. Use this to your advantage and try to create more confusion and continue on the erratic gameplay path.

And, remember, if you have never been caught bluffing, you are probably not bluffing enough.