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Bluffing is a famous tool in poker. However, like any tool, you need to apply it at the right time for the right job. There are too many situations when bluffing is most effective, but in every case you should always know your players as well as possible before you try to bluff them. They might already know what you are up to.

Some of the best occasions to bluff are when:

There are few players in the pot. Itís easier to bluff the minority than a lot of them. But trying to "fool the few" is a common trick, so your fellow players will probably know what you're up to. Persist in your betting, though, and you might fool them.

The play is against tight players. Players that fold easily to begin with are excellent bluffing targets, but if you start early (in the pre-flop or flop) and they donít shy away, you might want to think twice about keeping it up. They have almost certainly got a good hand.

Your pre-flop bet actually missed its mark. The other players are not aware you missed, though, so if you do it carefully and consider the board well, you can perhaps reel a few of them in.

When other players are a little scared of you. If you just won a hand through really good play, and you play your next hand the same way, the opponents are likely to believe you have another strong one and fold.

Still never forget that these are fairly common bluffs, and odds are good that the other players at the table know them and are using them, too. They may not always work, so always make sure you know your players and what they will and will not fold to. And rather avoid use these bluffs too often: it could backfire on you.

Equally important is knowing when not to bluff. When there are a lot of players at the table, when they expect you to bluff, when you have only recently been caught bluffing, when youíve been losing lots of hands.... These all are terrible times to try bluffing your opponents. Donít bluff just for the sake of bluffing. Always ensure you have a reason and a chance of pulling it off.

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