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Home > Poker Strategy > Deception

Poker Strategy - Deception

Poker is not just a statistical game. It is also a game that involves a lot of psychological combat. Three of the most important psychological weapons in poker are bluffing, semi-bluffing, and slow-playing.


Contrary to popular belief, bluffing is almost useless in a low limit game (anything less than $2-4). Rarely will people not call to a showdown, so there is no point in scaring people out of the pot. I suggest waiting to bluff until you play at a higher limit. When you play at a higher limit, it's best to bluff when you 'represent' something and there are only one or two opponents in the pot. For example, betting at the flop with a high card on the board 'represents' a pair, raising when a flush is possible 'represents' the flush. Bluffing is also much more useful in a no-limit game than a limit game.


Semi-bluffing is the same as bluffing except you possess a strong draw.

Your Hand

You currently only have Ace high, but you may hit a spade flush or make a pair of Aces or Kings. Thus, if you bet with this hand, you are bluffing at the pot but have a high likelihood of possessing a strong hand on later betting rounds. Semi-bluffing is a very useful technique at times, especially in no-limit games.


Slowplaying means deceiving your opponents into thinking you have less of a hand then you do.

Your Hand

You flopped a full house! There is no need to scare people out of the pot because there is little chance of someone drawing out on you. Thus, you should wait to the turn or maybe even river to jam the pot with bets and raises. You should slow-play if two conditions are met:

1. You hold the "stone nuts" and there is almost no chance of someone drawing on you

2. You will only get action if some other cards come out that will improve your opponents' hands. Nonetheless, these cards are not good enough to make their hands beat your hand.