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Bluffing: does it come naturally or can it be taught?

Bluffing is one of the most well-known of poker strategies, but it is certainly not the only one that experienced players employ during the course of a game. Bluffing essentially means convincing your opponents that you have a stronger hand than you actually do and, if used correctly, it can be one of the most effective and valuable skills a poker player has. Many people assume that the ability to bluff effectively is something that just comes naturally to some people, whereas others are simply unable to do it, but is this actually the case?

Well no, not really, because all frequent poker players’ use bluffing as part of their arsenal, and they will not all have been naturals at doing this from the start. It is certainly true that bluffing convincingly will come more easily to some than others, as some people will be better able to avoid the ‘tells’ of body language when trying to bluff – but much of it is down to confidence and this can be developed through playing the game regularly and getting better at it. Furthermore, learning to bluff is not just about actually selling the bluff to your opponents.

Another common mistake that people make when trying to bluff is doing it too often, which minimises its impact – but also leads to you being called much more frequently during a game. The bluff needs to be used judiciously during a game, because if you present a straightforward impression of yourself during a game, your opponents will be more likely to fall for your bluff. Bluffing successfully can be taught, and many places offer poker schools and videos where you can be taught to control your body language and when are the most effective times during a game to use a bluff – as well as how to read your opponents.

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