Bluffing Style – Developing Your Unique Approach

Developing your own bluffing style is an important part of becoming a sophisticated tight aggressive poker player. If you know ten high quality poker players you probably know 10 different bluffing styles. It’s important that you develop a bluffing style that works well for your game and is uniquely tailored to your personality and playing style.

TAG Bluffing Style

Bluffing as a TAG in poker is a lot different than bluffing as a LAG. TAG’s get a lot more respect for the quality of hand they have when they bluff. Many TAG’s mistakenly believes this means they can or “should” be able to bluff their opponent off a hand. However, its important to remember that when you employ a TAG style of play your opponents range of hands by the river will be tighter than the range of hands a LAG faces on the river. Ironically, in many ways it is easier for LAG’s to bluff river because of this dynamic ^. Against a solid opponent I would say that TAG’s have an easier time bluffing flops and turns but it is more difficult for them on the river than a LAG. Here are three good lessons for TAG’s. TAG’s are generally in the 20-24% range of hands pre-flop at 6-max at least.

  1. Be careful firing river bullets against players who are only going to the river against you with a a super high quality range of hands.
  2. Bluff weak opponents who go to the river with wide ranges and have you pegged as a nit. Many recreational players mistake TAG’s for nits.
  3. Double barrelling the turn can be an effective bluffing strategy for TAG’s against players who assume if you fire the turn “you’ve got the goods”.

LAG Bluffing Style

The beauty of being a LAG is that nobody knows what you have :). LAG’s have the most flexibility with respect to bluffing style, but they also face challenges and occasionally receive a frustrating lack of respect for their bets. Here are some good rules to keep in mind. Generally, I define a LAG player as someone who plays over 24% of hands pre-flop (at 6-max) with a high pre flop raise number as well.

  1. Be cautious aggressively bluffing when you are on a hot streak as you’ll naturally be playing a wider range of hands than usual and may come across as a maniac
  2. Just because you are a LAG doesn’t mean your opponents know you are a LAG. If you are new to a table and have a nitty image take advantage of this to steal some pots.
  3. Customize your bluffing style to the specific style of opponent you are playing. Identify players who don’t like to make big river calls and put them to the test – its in your nature anyhow :).

How To Bluff As A Nit

Bluffing as a nit can be a huge mistake if you don’t do it properly. In some ways bluffing as a nit can be the easiest thing ever. However, you have to be careful that your opponent is only playing the nuts against you :). Generally I define a nit as somebody who plays a range of hands less than 20% (at 6-max)

  1. Watch out for the nuts! This is pretty much rule #1 since Villain’s range will be awful tight against you to begin with.
  2. Bluffing pre flop is often better than post-flop. Nits will receive a tremendous amount of respect for pre-flop 3bets, 4betting light, and even flop bets.
  3. Don’t do an outrageous and perhaps desperate looking bluff. One of the mistakes that nits often make is they bluff in a really stupid manner and expect their image to do all the work for them. A well made bluff is like telling a good story you have to lay the foundation for it.

Having The Guts To Bluff

Not many players are able to put their stack on the line in a big moment without the nuts – this is simply the fact. Have you ever bluffed away a full stack with absolutely nothing? Try it sometime… It sucks when you get called but its pretty darn cool if you can pull it off. Young players tend to be more fearless and willing to pull the trigger on dramatic bluffs, which is part of what makes them incredibly dangerous at the felt. In order to get paid off when you have major hands it helps a great deal if people know you are capable of pulling off a massive bluff!

Till next time folks, best of luck at the tables!



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