Bluffing in Heads Up Play


Most likely the first thing you remember learning about poker was bluffing.  What a fun way to add some excitement to the game.  If you don't have good cards you can still play, you just have to make everyone think you have them beat.  We all know that it is easier said than done.


For starters, bluffing only works when your opponent has a marginal hand.  You can raise and huff and puff all you want, but someone with an ace high flush will never lay it down.  So what can you do to protect yourself from getting caught in a bluff?  Feel out your opponent.  Know that they are on a weak hand and you can exploit it every time.


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For instance if you have a 5-3 off suit.  Your opponent may have something like 9-10 suited.  The flop comes A K 7.  Your opponent checks, showing that he is either slow playing an ace or a king, or he didn't hit the flop and is trying to get another card for free.  If you feel that he didn't hit the flop, throw a small raise out there to try and bluff him out.  Maybe around 10% of your chip stack.  More often than not your opponent will fold if they haven't connected on the flop.


The catch to all of this is to read your opponent.  Notice how I said he may be slow playing an ace or a king, but what about pocket 7's, K 7, or a 10 7?  There are plenty of hands out there that your opponent could have that would justify a call and leave you in hot water.  Tread lightly when bluffing, especially during online play.

You will find that your bluff gets called more often in online play than heads up play.  Why?  Because the player who is calling is hiding behind a computer screen and doesn't have to stand the embarrassment of calling with a weak hand.  Read more about the differences between online and live poker games.  There is a big difference, mainly due to the fact that the game is much faster online.


Bluff only when you feel that your opponent is weak, and most importantly bluff at your own risk.