Beginner’s Guide to Bluffing Online

Matt Lessinger

by Matt Lessinger

Bluffing is an essential part of your game, as is being able to spot bluffs by other players. Reading your opponent’s reactions and picking up on any tells they may have is often the best way to gauge if their move is a bluff. But what can help you sell a bluff, or judge when another player is bluffing when you’re online?

How can we read a reaction if we’re not in the same room as other players? Which skills and tactics translate well from live poker and can be used online? And what are the real principles behind a bluff?

We spoke with Matt Lessinger, Author of “The Book of Bluffs” who explained some of the concepts behind bluffing, tells and how online poker differs to live play.

What is a good bluff?
A good bluff has your opponent guessing as to the right play to make. The problem is that sometimes he will guess correctly. A GREAT bluff purposely misdirects your opponent, such that he folds when you want him to fold. A good bluff confuses your opponent. A great bluff misleads your opponent.

Why is bluffing such a big part of poker?
Bluffing is the essence of poker. If everyone bet only when they had a strong hand, everyone would fold whenever they couldn’t beat a strong hand, and poker wouldn’t be much of a game.

What are the key principles to a good bluff?
Your goal in bluffing is to attack weakness and represent strength. If you can do both at the same time, you are almost guaranteed success. But as long as you can do one of the two – either pick on an opponent who has an especially weak hand, or choose a situation where you can credibly represent a strong hand – you’ll still maintain a high success rate.

You can read the whole interview here.