Texas Hold’em can be a pretty mysterious game. Although the community cards allow all the players an insight into each other’s hands, they won’t tell the whole truth. Players who can use this to their advantage while bluffing, will find winning easier than not. And players who can ascertain when others are bluffing, will find winning is the name of the game.
Here’s what you need to know:
First, the two cards in your hand are the only two cards that can help you to win. They are the only cards that set you apart from your opponents. And, they are the only two cards that you have that the other players aren’t aware of.
And second, the community cards are there for everybody. So, if there are four spades showing, chances are that your flush isn’t the only one.
The reason you need to know this is so that you can focus not only on what those cards mean to you, but on what those cards mean to everyone else. The most important two hands to watch your opponents for are their straight and flush possibilities.
In order to bluff successfully, you need to be careful not to let on anything that you don’t want the others to know. For instance, this can mean holding out on betting until a later round, or betting smaller or larger than you think your hand warrants. It also means controlling your body physically. For instance, sharp intakes of breath, sweating, flushed cheeks, tapping fingers, fidgeting, eye movements, facial expressions, lip biting and many other movements can indicate to others whether your hand is good or bad. This is especially true if you are consistently repetitive with these gestures.
Checking is one way to prevent your opponents from understanding your hand. They may think your hand is weaker than it is and it protects you from betting too early.
Another way to bluff is to consistently raise and to push your opponents to the point that they believe you have an excellent hand. The strategy behind this type of bluffing is to get your opponents to bet early on at reasonable or high amounts and then fold later in the hand as you increase your bets considerably.
To see if your opponents are bluffing against you, simply read the cards. If the community cards look good, their hand could be the real thing. However, good community cards are good for everybody and they may not be the only one with a good hand. If the community cards are bad, raises could signal a high pocket pair or a straight or flush possibility. By reading the cards, watching for tell-tale signs from your opponents and monitoring betting behavior, you should be able to tell when your opponents are for real and when it’s a bluffing game.