- Don’t be on the wrong end of a bluff again, learn what to do with our guide
- Bluffing in poker is one the great skills but you teach you the fundamentals of catching an opponent in the act
In the words of American rapper Eminem “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.”
Granted, he may have been talking about taking to the stage in his early career in the hit song ‘lose yourself’ but could he also be referring to trying to pull off an almighty poker bluff?
Performing a successful bluff in poker is one of the most rewarding things that can happen in the game but also one of the most nerve-racking.
Even the best get caught out by a bluff catcher from time to time and even the coolest man on the planet James Bond is not infallible when it comes to being on the wrong end of a bluff as depicted in the film Casino Royale.
Although some have perfected the art of the bluff, many haven’t and often leave an obvious ‘tell’. With this in mind, we have compiled a guide with the best tips to look out for when trying to spot a poker bluffer in the casino.
Patterns of play
Trying to spot a bluff in a professional player is hard and sometimes impossible unless you have detected a pattern of play.
However, it is only possible to detect that pattern if the player has occasionally shown their hand to be a bluff upon winning.
Any pro worth their salt will not likely do this but amongst the more amateur players of us, this can be a common thing as the desire to let your fellow players know you have gotten one over them too strong to resist.
Also check their betting patterns as this is often the biggest indicator of what your opponent wants you to do as they try to manipulate the game.
For example, an opponent who would normally raise pre-flop to something like 5x the value of blind but then suddenly changes their pattern to only twice the value of the blind clearly has something strong in their hand as they try and coax you into calling their soft raise.
However, if they suddenly lump ten times the value of blind pre-flop then it is likely they are trying to buy the pot by forcing everyone else to fold, either because they are bluffing or because they are running low on chips.
What are you Looking at?
When a player is trying to bluff, a natural instinct is to try and look intimidating in a bid to try and get you to fold your cards.
Natural instincts are hard to resist and if you see an opponent looking particularly menacing, then chances are, they are bluffing.
People also often look into some one’s eyes to see if they are lying because apparently, the eyes tell all.
When you play with someone who is less in control of their stress levels and stare at them in the eyes, what happens is their pupils will dilate or they will look away.
This can often be misconstrued as bluffing but actually the eyes dilating is often related to stress responses and does not necessarily mean your opponent is trying to steal the pot.
Be aware of the person who holds your gaze unwavering as chances are they are up to no good.
Too cool for school
Watch for a change in body language, someone who has a good hand will naturally try and look as cool and relaxed as possible.
If this is out of character with how the player has normally played than it is likely they are hoping no one notices them and they can casually walk away with the spoils.
Aggressive play or holding out for some luck on the flop is a way to combat this or simply fold as you cannot win them all.
Other body language signs to watch out for is a slight crunching up of the shoulders. Again, this is due to stress and may happen when your opponent has a weak hand and is trying to bluff their way to victory.
Take your emotions out of the game
It is easy to get carried away thinking everyone is trying to bluff you all the time but that isn’t the case, a lot of the time there will be no bluff as it is a risky manoeuvre for the player to make.
Remember to play your game but be aware of any unusual and out of character plays from your opponents as this will often lead to a bluff.
When you first start, be conservative as it will take time to learn the characteristics of your opponents, some may try to exploit nervousness among the group in the early rounds but by taking your emotions out of the game, you are much more likely to come away with the pot than spot someone who is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
Bluffing is one of the great skills of the game but when you catch one in the action, the feeling is resplendent.
The important thing is to enjoy the game no matter whether you are playing with your mates or at an online casino; and if you are playing at an online casino make it a good one – LeoVegas Casino will do the trick.
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