Bluffing in Online Poker

Make no mistake about it. Bluffing in poker is a crucial weapon to have in your online poker arsenal. Don’t listen to bad players telling you that you don’t need to bluff to make money. They’re clueless nits and likely losing or breakeven players.

More often than not the opponents involved in a hand will not have much of a hand and it’s the player who takes the initiative that will win the pot. Winning lots of these small pots adds to your winrate quite substantially.

Knowing Your Position and When to Bluff Properly

The act of bluffing in online poker is an attempt to convince your online opponents that you’re stronger than you really are. In fact you have nothing or almost nothing at all, but by betting you can get a better hand to fold! And it is an art to pull if off successfully. It is important to realize, however, that bluffing in online poker is going to be different to live poker, for the simple reason that you cannot actually see your opponents, so you can’t pick up on physical tells.

You can still use tells to help with determining whether you should bluff or not, it’s just different, and careful consideration still needs to be made.  For a successful bluff in online poker to work, you need to consider your table image at the time of attempting the bluff. Bluffing works best when you have a fairly solid image having showdown some strong hands. The aim is to give a picture of you as someone who engages in big pots only when you have big hands.

Tight, nitty players are perceived to always have the goods when they come out betting, especially when they make big bets on the turn and river, so you want to use this perceived image against attentive players. You’ll find yourself in situations where you are playing against an opponent who is attentive and capable of making a laydown.

For example, when a scare card hits that could have easily improved your hand because you were the preflop raiser, you can think about attempting a bluff, because you know the player is capable of folding and they have no reason to think you’re bluffing since you’ve always showed down big hands.

However, there will often be times when you are playing against a bunch of unknown players, and therefore have marginal reads. In times like this you might not want to pull the trigger quite as early, because for all you know they’re a calling station that will call you down with middle pair.

Semi-Bluffing in Online Poker

When you are looking to incorporate more bluffs into your betting range, good hands to include are semi bluffing hands. A semi-bluff is when you are certain that you do not have the best hand currently, but you have a good chance to improve if your opponent calls.

As an example, if the pot has $30 in it, your opponent bets $10 and you push all-in with $50 with a queen high flush draw. It is a semi-bluff because you do not want your opponent to really call because if they do they probably have a better hand than you, but even when they do call, your hand can improve to the winning hand.


When all is said and done, successful bluffing in No Limit Texas Hold’em is situational dependant. It might seem like a very difficult thing to try when you don’t have much experience but you will get better at it after you play more poker. The real key is understanding your opponents and where you stand in the hand, as well as how they think and what they think of you.

If you play poker online, you should be aware that it will be difficult to judge when it is an appropriate time to bluff. Often you just need to be patient and wait for strong hands to value bet with, especially at the micro stakes tables, since the majority of players are not capable of folding when they have any kind of hand.

That said, some players will be tight and you will need to up the aggression against them by stealing their blinds and continuation betting as they will play fit or fold poker post flop. Try different tactics and see what works, and more importantly, why they work. With time you will understand the concept of bluffing, and it will become more natural and hopefully more effective for you.