When playing poker bluffing is a part of the game that must be acknowledged. The point of bluffing is to cause others to guess what you have to second guess their own hand. Also bluffing is a tool used to steal pots and force others out of a hand. A good poker player will use the bluff to keep you on your toes and constantly wondering if they are ahead. While bluffing is a good tool to use it is important to understand that bluffing too often is a “tell” you do not wants others to gain from you. Changing up your play and the time in a hand that you bluff is as important as understanding when to bluff.
Whether you on are the end of a bluff or the one bluffing you will be right at times and wrong at others. A good opponent will bluff or make it appear they are bluffing when they clearly have the better hand. It is a tool that can be used in order to get others to think they have the better hand and call your bluff to only loose due to failing to understand your opponents game. In many lower limit table limits you will find that players tend to bluff far too often. They tend to get away with it often due to others inexperience and therefore gain a false sense of security. While it may appear these players are winning overall they are actually loosing players who have failed to learn from their experience playing poker. An example of this is where in a cash game the pot is worth $10and a player will fire a bluff at two times the pots value. If this bluff comes on the river often they are trying to bluff the hand if all previous bets were small in comparison. It is obvious that unless another player has a killer hand they simply will not call so it is an anticipated bluff. However it is also often an easy read of a bluff and therefore will get called by those with any real understanding of how the hand was played from start to finish.
One must pay attention to how each hand is played as the potential threat of a bluff is almost as important as the bluff itself. A good player will not bluff too much or not enough and will bluff when the conditions are right for success. Determining when that potential threat of a bluff will come is a skill. That is no easy thing to do and most people will not have a high percentage of success in doing so. If a pot has a large value often the threat is there as all those in the hand will recognize that value of the pot and should others be checking down the hand then most likely someone will make a bluff for the pot. By watching play at the table closely you will be better able to determine when this is most likely. Based on the hand you are playing you will then be able to react appropriately.