Bluffing in online poker

Bluffing face to face in a live poker game is one thing, but how do you translate that skill into online play? Likewise, how do you read other players at the table when all you have to go on is a username and an avatar? I’ve tried paying attention to betting patterns, but still find myself getting burned in situations where I’ve been certain someone was bluffing or holding. Curious to hear how other people approach this sort of thing. :sunglasses:

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I watch the players and see how they play. Who bluffs, who bets crazy, who is a bully player and then sometime I just get tired and bet my hand (which I should have been doing all along.

i just go with my gut feelings

Just ran across some Bluffing Tips. Turns out, I’ve been doing it wrong. You’re not supposed to bluff just because it makes you look cool.

A few things - 1) Don’t bluff very often. You see it in the movies and done by the poker pros- that is why they are the pros, not us. 2) It’s all about repping a hand. For example, let’s say you bet 8bb from dealer position pre-flop, going in to the flop you’ve got 2 other players still with you, and the flop comes Ad 3c Kc. If you’re the dealer, and both players check to you, as long as you don’t believe them to be slowplaying a big hand (AK, AA, KK, AQ, KQ, anything premium), then you can throw out a large enough bet to get them to fold there, or you can check to the turn/river and try to rep a big hand and get them to fold there. Beware though, if you let them see the turn/river, you’re giving them a chance to draw something on you, for example, if they held a small pocket pair, prompting them to call you pre-flop, then the flop gives them nothing, they’re semi-likely to fold it on the flop if they think you’ve got a monster, like AK or AQ, giving you a pair of aces or two-pair. If they get to see the turn/river, they could hit a 5 and make a set, and a three of a kind beats two pair, even if you’ve got Aces and Kings.

I just bluff when the situation is a very good one and when I have a tight table image…
But I don’t really bluff to often…

I understand the concept … but unless the chips are worth something … i do not see the point in bluffing …when i can just get more free chips .am i going to be mad or sad or upset i got beat by a 5 7 …I think losing i probably lose just as much when i have pkt aces seriously how many times have you gone all in with that hand …someone calls you with a 7 9 or any ridiculous hand you can imagine …and wouldn’t you know it the flop comes 7 7 J …you got to be kidding me …and that happens here …because some people will say screw it i will go for it … i really have nothing to lose …unless you let pride get in the way ,

On average a player bluffs about one in 10 times. so most of the time if they bet big, especially on the river they have it If not that’s OK< let’em bluff you, it;'s not a sin to fold to a bluff, but it is a sin, not to catch’em when you have the best hand.

as for bluffing with play money, it’s useless,

You can’t bluff with play money. You Will be called.

nor can you push a donk off quads. ie with 7 players in, someone has a hand.

so why bluff when all you have to do is wait for good cards and make a hand. They WILL call your all in, it’s play money.

“Everybody is somebody’s fish”

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The only way to take on frequent big betters and bluffers is to play them with value. Do not play if you do nt have a made hand. My opinion.

Lol. same experience here. I believe AA is only two high cards until you see the flop. But it does call for a generous raise.

I like to make notes. When I see people bluffing a few times, I make a private note. At the beginning of play I search all on the table to see if I have notes on them. I also mark good players and holders. Throughout time you will acquire notes on a lot of people.

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Good call (…no pun intended.) – there are so many players, keeping them straight without some digital assistance seems foolish.

Bluffing is a part of this game - but only one part. Should be done selectively, and with authority - like you own the table.
I’m an Opportuni-vore…… I will eat the weak, when appropriate.
On the poker table I mean - LOL

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I see way too much buffing and out right Poker Bully strategy on Replay.

I think part of the reason is because there is no real risk on a free chip site and the other is players enable that strategy by trying to out-bluff and bully the bullies.

There is a time when a semi-bluff is appropriate when you have a possible and you think your opponent may have a weak hand or you hold high cards and think you might win with a kicker on the river.

Other than that- bluffing as a strategy is probably not going to pay off against more advanced players that will read your bluffs and call.

ADDED: I wrote a much more detailed guide to bluffing here:

Based on my experience on the low stakes tables, I agree with you that many people there will try to bluff against loose-passive players who will call down far too frequently.

We need to use some bluffs against advanced players. This is not the same as bullying - we are not betting every single time. Against advanced opponents we need to bet a mixture of good hands and bluffs so that they will have a hard time deciding whether to call us.

The one time I would recommend bullying is if you can get heads up against a tight-passive nit type player who will fold everything except the nuts. There are not too many of these players at Replay but there are a few. Against this player you can just bet, bet, bet regardless of your cards. The pots you win through them folding will add up to much more than the pots you lose when they occasionally show up with a hand.

If you bluff twice as often as you value bet, I’m going to call you down every time. Sure, I’ll occasionally lose a pot, but in general I’ll be printing chips.

I think you’ve got your ratio inverted. Think of it this way:

Let’s say you generally have a 3:1 value-bluff ratio, and typically bet half the size of the pot. When your opponent calls, he’s risking one chip to win three. 75% of the time he’ll lose one chip, and 25% of the time he’ll gain three, for an average net of zero. On the other hand, if he folds, he’ll also have an average net of zero, so he would be indifferent between calling and folding. This, of course, presumes you are accurately calibrating your bet size to your bluff-value ratio.

What if I bet half the pot with a 2:1 bluff-value ratio? Now, when you call, 2/3 of the time you’ll win three chips (two from the original pot, plus my half-pot bet of one), and 1/3 of the time you’ll lose 1. On average, a call will net you 1.67 chips, while a fold will still garner 0 chips… so you should always call.

In general, the more often you are bluffing in a particular spot relative to your value range, the bigger you should bet; if you’re bluffing infrequently in that spot, your bet size should be much smaller to stay balanced. You’ll always need to have more value hands in your range than bluffs, otherwise you won’t be able to appropriately calibrate your bet size, and your opponent can profitably call you down.

For river bets then you’re right, 2:1 bluff to value is much too high.

However, I am only talking about betting 2:1 bluffs to value on the flop. In general we want to bluff more often on early streets because that’s when it’s cheapest.

On the turn I am going to give up on some of my bluffs and bet about a 1:1 ratio of bluffs to value. On the river I’ll give up on some more of my bluffs so it’ll be about 1:2 of bluffs to value. Because we’re playing no limit, the bets are growing exponentially on each street so if you call me down every time you will end up paying off my big river value bets far too much.

In terms of bet size, this 2:1 -> 1:1 -> 1:2 pattern is going to be about right if we bet pot on each street. If we bet smaller we need fewer bluffs; if we bet bigger we can use more.

EDIT: this article goes into more detail on the math used to come up with these ratios.

I think this article might be of help to new players trying to learn poker odds and equity and does not require you to be a math major:

Some people get deep into the weeds promoting a certain formula but in reality poker does not happen in a vacuum and formula betting leaves out that people do not always act predictably especially when playing poker.

Enjoy the article!

I wanted to elaborate more on the 2:1 value to bluff ratio on the river. Understanding this was a huge aha moment for me and changed how I think about bluffing.

Let’s say we’re at the river and it’s heads up. There are 900 chips in the pot and we each have 900 chips remaining in our stack. I go all in for my last 900 chips, and tell you that I either have the nuts or nothing. In fact I tell you truthfully my exact strategy with this bet - 2/3 of the time I have the nut flush, and the other 1/3 of the time I am bluffing with ace high.

In your hand let’s say you have 2 pair. A pretty good hand, but if you call and I have the flush you lose. On the other hand if you call and I am bluffing, you win. Should you call or fold?


If you didn’t bet that flush possible earlier than the river and you have a history of bluffing I would likely call you down with 2 pair.

It would smell of a desperation play to me.

That is why I say a hand does not happen in a vacuum and depends on your read of the opponents, stack size, ring or tourney, in the money or not and other factors.