The Many Faces Of Bluffing In No-Limit Holdem Poker

New players often see bluffing in poker as a daring big bet which gets opponents to fold a strong hand after much deliberation. Unfortunately this costs these players a lot of chips before they realize that poker bluffing is actually a more complex area. This article introduces the topic of bluffing by showing you 5 different types of No-Limit Holdem bluff – outlining the best time to use each to allow you to quickly profit from the ideas given whether you play cash games, SNGs or Poker Tournaments.

No-Limit Holdem Bluffs #1 – Pure Bluffing

The archetypal bluff happens when you have no pair, no draw and no other way to win the hand than to get you opponent(s) to fold. How and when you use this bluff will depend on the tendencies of your opponents and your own table image – for example would they expect you to bet big with no hand? Use this bluff sparingly, it can be expensive when it fails.

No-Limit Holdem Bluffs #2 – Semi-Bluffing

‘Semi-Bluffing’ involves betting when you do not have the best hand, but do have ways in which your hand can improve to become the best. The most common example is when you flop a draw to a straight or flush. A big bet might win immediately, or you might make your hand on the turn or river when called. Combining the fold + win chances make this a profitable form of bluff – and one that is commonly used by winning online poker players.

No-Limit Holdem Bluffs #3 – Continuation Betting

When you raise before the flop and were called, it can often be profitable to continue to show aggression with a bet after the flop regardless of whether you hit or missed. This type of bet is known as ‘Continuation Betting’ and takes advantage of the fact that any unpaired hand your opponent called with will miss the flop 65% of the time. Remember to continuation bet into 1 or 2 opponents max, the combined chances of several opponents all missing the flop are small.

No-Limit Holdem Bluffs #4 – Check-Raise Bluffing

Check-Raise bluffing involves acting weak to induce a bet from an opponent and then coming in with a large raise to effectively blow them off of their hand. This bluff looks extremely strong to aware opponents, but should not be used against novices who are only considering their own 2 cards. Combining the check-raise bluff with some outs (so effectively a check-raise semi-bluff) makes this move even more powerful.

No-Limit Holdem Bluffs #5 – Call-Bluffing

Our last type of bluff is an advanced move which actually requires 2 betting rounds and position on your opponent. The principle is that many opponents will ‘continuation bet’ after they raised before the flop, looking to take the pot whether they hit or missed. Against the right opponent it can be possible to flat call their flop bet, with the idea that you will raise on the turn if they do not bet again. Your flop call was effectively a bluff which enables you to steal the pot later on. Again having outs makes this move even more powerful.