Looking at bluffing post flop in no-limit hold’em poker

Bluffing in poker is essential

The difference between professional poker players in no limit hold’em and amateurs and novices is that the professionals know when to bluff and the novices basically do a lot of guessing and choose the wrong times to launch a bluff. The good players also offer and take the right odds as well and we will be looking at this during future articles. But the fact of the matter is that not only do you need to bluff in no limit ring games in order to be a big winner but you also need to do it well.

< h2> The principles of bluffing

There are certain principles attached to bluffing that mean that if you do it well then it becomes a huge source of profit for you. If you aspire to make a lot of money from poker or simply to make a lot of money relative to your level, bluffing well is essential. Let us look at two players at say NL100. One makes $15/hr and has had a worst case scenario of a $500 downswing. Meanwhile at the same level is a top player who makes $80/hr but has had a $1500 downswing.

Now that $1500 swing would be unacceptable to the previous player but then again he is not in a position to play the game professionally until he can accept greater variance. However, to achieve a greater earn rate you need to bluff more in order to achieve it. But the downside of doing so is that you will run into hands or players that will not fold. This is an occupational but ultimately unavoidable hazard of making high earn rates and your swings need to be higher to achieve them.

Being mentally tough enough

In future articles I will be looking at board textures and the mathematics of bluffing more, but bluffing goes straight to the heart of high earn rates relative to your level of play. If you are making 10ptbb/100 at NL10 this isn’t going to make you rich but that is very good earn rate for the level. The downside to bluffing and one that few players readily accept is that you will lay yourself open to losses in positions where tight players would simply have checked or folded.

However, if you look at individual hands in a vacuum or sessions for that matter, you will never see the big money in poker because when the going gets tough (which it will), and your c-bets are running into good hands and your bluff raises are also running into the same then greater swings will be incurred. But notice that I said “greater swings” and not greater losses. You need to keep the faith in situations like these and when you have dropped two buy-ins when you otherwise would have been around break even and you need to be able to ride this. You will get away with a greater degree of bluffing if your opponents are weak-tight as they very often are in full ring games at NL100 and below.