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Poker , unlike almost any other game, requires players to lie in order to play well. This ability to lie well, politely referred to in poker terms as bluffing, becomes even more important as a player moves up in levels.  The higher the level of play, whether in money games, internet games or tournaments, the more important the skill of bluffing becomes to a players success.

Bluffing is an art form , and no poker player can rise above the level of mediocrity without some semblance of a bluffing game . To master the art of bluffing is to know when to bluff, when not to bluff, when to bluff a bluff, and who to bluff against .

To realize just how important bluffing is to poker, imagine a poker game where no player was allowed to bluff.  It would soon be realized that anyone who bet had precisely the value of hand represented by the amount of the bet. Naturally, any player who had a lesser hand would fold; whereas any player who had a better hand would be obligated to bet a higher amount, a raise, to properly represent that hand accurately. This would continue until the highest bet was reached at which point, all the other players would fold to the winning bet, which would be the highest bet.  It would, of course, be expected that the winning player show his or her hand, just to be certain they were not lying or bluffing.

As could be expected, the game of poker without bluffing , would not be very popular, as it would consist of dealing out hands just to see who would get the best hands. Even the act of betting would give little excitement as it would pose little risk to the bettor as each bet represented only the value of the hand held and pots would only be won by the best hand, as s players skill would be unimportant.

In short, just the act of removing bluffing from the game would also leave all poker professionals without work as their skill could no longer be utilized against less proficient players.  All players would be equal and subject only to the cards dealt to them; which, in the long run would be even among all players.

Interesting to consider the importance of the bluff, something some of us use too seldom and the rest of us way too often and, we suspect, mostly at the wrong times.

In order to properly complete a successful bluff there is a variety of different things that need to happen. You have to be a certain kind of person who is willing to risk what you have in front of you if you want to win pots through bluffing . There are also a lot of other factors that should be taken into consideration as well. :

•The first thing you need to understand is that you really cannot just bluff whenever you want to. It is not going to work unless your opponents have foldable hands and you sense some weakness. If you are up against a player with a monster hand, it doesn't matter if you pull off the act of a lifetime; you will get nowhere.

•If you do sense that weakness, you will be able to perform a bluff if you do it the right way. You would need to put on a good act and stick to it. You cannot bet to win the pot on the flop, and then check on the turn. If you decide your opponent is weak and you can win the pot with your betting, then you have to stick with it. From there, you should be able to do that without a problem.

•As long as you keep those things in mind and you are fearless, you will be able to win a lot of pots from bluffing. The idea is to win more pots that way than you lose. If you do that, you will make more over the long run. Depending on your style, it will take different moves to get the bluff to work. Just stick to the main point--being to make your opponents think you have them beat. Not only that, but make sure they are put in a position of losing a lot of chips if they call.

Some tips and notes on bluffing:

Don't have a tell . It almost goes without saying, but a novice player who can't hide his emotions will get wiped out if he tries to bluff around experienced players. Of course, you could always try to develop a fake tell, in hopes of duping the other players. Good luck with that.

You can't bluff an entire table. It's unlikely that you'll get away with a bluff against four or more other players; one or two of them are bound to stay in just so you don't win the pot uncontested. The best time to bluff is in a one-on-one or one-on-two situation, when the game has become a battle of nerves.

Beware the better bluffer . Bluffing isn't a one-sided affair - others at the table will be doing the same thing. Developing your bluffing technique is important, but don't forget to also study other players. Figuring out when others are bluffing is just as useful as doing it effectively yourself.

Try some half-hearted bluffs. You don't always have to bluff with nothing. If you have a mediocre hand with some potential, first try to force others out with a bluff. If that fails, there's still a chance you could make a good hand and take the pot. And once your cards are turned, the other players won't know if you were bluffing or just overly optimistic.

Don't fear a discovery. You get to the showdown, and your bluff is revealed for all to see. That pot is lost, but the other players are now wary of your hand strength the next time you start to raise. Is he bluffing again? Maybe I should call just to make sure.

Fear many discoveries. Of course, if you keep bluffing and losing no one will take your bets and raises seriously, and will call you all night. If that happens, and you don't have luck on your side, your chip stack will quickly dwindle
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