you get caught bluffing, you of course lose. However,
you may not mind being caught and losing early in
a session because you are considering your image for
future hands. You may even make an ill advised bluff
early so that you will get a lot more calls on your
legitimate hands the rest of the night. (Similarly,
an early ill-advised call against tough players may
keep them from bluffing against you the rest of the
night because they fear you're likely to call their
Creating an image that you almost never bluff can
also be advantageous. I am generally considered a
tight player, and I sometimes pass up an early, marginally
profitable bluffing situation to enhance this image.
What that does is allow me to steal some pots in the
future with complete impunity. No one imagines I am
daring to bluff.
When you are up against even average players, they
are constantly studying the way you play. So considering
the effect of any play on future hands should be an
important part of your games, especially in no-limit
and pot-limit online poker games and especially when
you are playing against the same people all night
or from one night to the next or one week to the next.
Some players go so far as to argue that bluffs should
show a loss because those losses will be repaid with
interest when they get a lot of action on their legitimate
hands. games theory, suggests that when you employ
optimal bluffing strategy, you should break even on
your bluffs. However, there is no reason not to develop
a sense of your opponents and of betting situations
so your bluffs show a profit. A successful bluff wins
the whole pot, and it takes a lot of extra calls of
your legitimate hands to make up for one pot. Therefore,
against all but very tight players, you should bluff
slightly less than optimally so your bluffs show a
profit. The greater your reputation as a tight player,
the more you will be able to get away with bluffs.
At the same time, you will still get caught often
enough to get paid off when you do have a good hand.
players is the art of making a determination about
your opponents' likely holdings. It is an art, but
there is also some science to it.
Reading a player involves a study of the habits of
that player, making a stereotypical categorization
of the player, a knowledge of how certain types of
players tend to behave, and an understanding of general
principles of tells and acting.