There are few skills in life that can also be described as an "art", but bluffing in texas holdem poker is definately one of them. I say it's an art because when it's done wrong it's ugly and hideous and sometimes even painful to watch, but when performed correctly by a master it's a beautiful to watch, like looking at the Mona Lisa. A successful bluff involves many psychological, emotional, and social elements and only when all of these have been taken into account and calculated can the bluff be effective. Bluffing in Facebook texas holdem poker with Facebook poker chips, rather than real money, adds even more elements to the mix because players cannot see their opponents faces and wagers are virtual poker chips rather than money, but there are still ways to master the Facebook poker bluff. Here are some points to keep in mind when you try to bluff in texas holdem poker games on Facebook and myspace.
The pure bluff:This is also known as a "stone cold bluff" and is used when a player's hand has almost no chance of winning. The idea is that if you can reasonably judge that the other players have inferior hands and aren't willing to risk their Facebook poker chips, a large bet will cause them to all fold their hands. This type of bet should generally be equal to the size of the pot, and should be done only when the expectation that everyone else will fold is greater than 50%. For example, after your flush or straight draw fails to materialize, you can make a bet equal to the amount of Facebook poker chips in the pot if you can make a reasonable assessment that the chances of everyone folding their cards is greater than half.
The semi-bluff:This type of bluff can be used not when your hand has been busted, but when there is still a chance that your hand might improve on the turn or river. The idea is that even if you make a strong bet that is called by your opponent and fails to scare them out of the pot, you still have a chance to draw the cards you need. This bluff is best used when there are suited cards or connectors like 5 - 8 - 7 on the table that might lead your opponent to believe that you already have the straight or flush. A strong bet in this situation could prompt everyone to fold their hand to you and allow you to win a good number of Facebook chips, however you should always be conscious of the fact that someone really might have flopped the straight or flush. In contrast to a pure bluff, a semi-bluff allows you to continue playing after a failed bluff because of the possibility that you may still improve your hand.
Betting before the flop and missing: Have you ever made a large preflop bet of Facebook poker chips with cards like Ace King, Ace Queen, King Queen etc.. only to watch cards like 3 9 5 fall on the flop? The flop obviously didn't go your way, but your opponents don't know that right? Sometimes it pays to show false strength and bluff after a missed flop.
Bluffing when there aren't a lot of players in the pot: This is a simple concept based on the fact that it's easier to gauge the hands of a few players than many players. If there are only 1 or 2 other players left in the hand, you have a better chance of making an accurate assessment about their cards and deciding on the proper amount of chips for your bluff to be efective.
Optimal bluffing frequency in Facebook poker: If you bluff too infrequently the other players at the table will label you as a value better, meaning that you bet and raise only when you have a great hand or the maximum chance of winning. This can lead to an unprofitable trend where everyone knows that you will only bet with great cards and so they generally choose to fold when you do so, diminishing your ability to draw more Facebook poker chips into the pots. The opposite of this is bluffing too much to the point that everyone realizes what you are up to and calls and even reraises your bluffs in order to "keep you honest" and teach you a lesson. The optimal bluffing strategy in Facebook poker is somewhere in between and must be implemented with an element of randomness in order to throw off the other players' ability to predict your hands.
Keep these points in mind in order to mold a successful bluffing strategy to maximize the number of Facebook poker chips you can win from each pot. If bluffing in texas holdem really is an art, then an bluffer must continually refine his strategy and tactics with practice and trials, much like an artists refines his paintings with each stroke of the brush.
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