In poker, to bluff is where you pretend to have a better hand than you do in an attempt to get folds from your opponents, which, generally speaking, is what you want when you’re playing poker. It is an important aspect of the game that you will need to develop and improve as you progress through the levels of online poker.
The decision to go for a bluff should be based on the range of hands you can expect others to have. If you’re playing Texas Hold’em you will be able to work out the probability that someone has a better hand than you based on the percentage of hands that your opponent plays, how this range connects with the board texture, and their betting frequency and sizing.
It is rarely going to be a good idea to attempt a bluff when you have very little chance of improving to the winning hand. More than that, at the micro stakes you probably don’t have as much fold equity as you think you do to try and get better hands to fold.
So, it is a much better strategy to semi-bluff when you can expect to have a decent chance of winning the pot even if you’re bluff gets called. The plan is to still try and get folds when you bluff since you don’t expect to have the best hand, but you are not hating life even when you get called.
This is unlike a stone cold bluff whereby you have very little chance of winning when/if you get called. Typical semi-bluffing hands are straight draws and flush draws. With these hands, even though you are likely behind in the hand, you’ll have quite a few outs you can hit on the turn or river to justify turning up the aggression.
When bluffing position is key because if your opponent has to act first, it’s giving you more information about their hand. If it checks around to you, it’s usually always indicative of a weak hand, especially if the opponent has checked it around to you on both the flop and turn. In these situations, betting with a flush draw is going to be good as it will fold outs lots of marginal hands that will probably expect another big bet on the river.