How do you bluff in low limit and free poker games on the internet?
The short answer is you can’t. Although bluffing is an integral part of the structure of no limit poker tournaments because in this version of the game you have to make “moves” as the blinds increase dramatically in the later stages of the game, in low limit games though because you are generally playing against beginners that barely know how to play the game, and bluffing does not work as often as it needs to work to be able to turn a profit against these type of players. Your opponents will call you down to the end out of sheer ignorance.
Be aware though that because you are playing against beginners many of them won’t even consider the board texture and their opponent’s likely range of hands they would be playing so they will still call you down to the river.
But I wouldn’t go as far as to say you can’t bluff fish. There are different types of fish you will encounter at the table. The typical fish will lack knowledge about good starting hands and will call too much both preflop and postflop, but there are fish who play fit and fold poker and only call when they have a decent hand.
Consider the players
To make sure that you don’t get caught out you have to try and pick good spots to attempt a bluff to steal a pot hoping that no one else has any decent holding to call you with.
What are the tendencies of players still in the hand? Have they shown a willingness to always call, have they been getting attached to hands like bottom pair? These players are fish/calling stations are are not ideal candidates to try a bluff against. You will just be bloating the pot with a weak hand and they likely will call you down all the way.
When to bluff
The only time bluffs work successfully are when you are faced with one or two opponents and the possibility that someone actually has much of anything is fairly remote. If you bet at this point after raising preflop then often your opponents will fold if they very weak holdings, so if there has been plenty of checking throughout the hand then this is a possibility.
A large percentage of the bluffs made by skilled players are in fact actually small bets made into smaller pots when they attempt to steal the pot on the flop, usually with a continuation bet. Other players don’t feel pot committed in this instance, as they have invested very little into the pot. The big river bluffs you see on TV poker by the likes of Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan work because they are playing for super high stakes and players are actually capable of making folds on the river.
With all of this being said, due to the loose-passive nature of most low limit poker games, it really doesn’t become important to utilize a bluffing strategy as the majority of players will be making huge calling mistakes and simply value betting your strong hands will get the job done.
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