Bluffing is one of the essentials in being a good poker player. It is where you can lure your opponents into demise. But everyone always takes the approach of learning how to bluff instead of learning if someone is bluffing. This time, we will try to at least break down the characteristics of a player who’s bluffing and possibly, for you, to kick that bluffing bully out of his game!
How to Determine a Bluffer in Poker?
The first thing you need to do is to never base their situation through their eyes. Many great liars have developed the skill of deceiving their victims how their eyes show emotions – happiness, fear, or excitement. It is best to read their gestures and observable traits, either to intimidate you or play possum. Here are the tips:
- Good hand implies bad hand – If a player is aiming to bluff, there is a great chance for them to look intimidating for you to fold your cards. This is a very basic scenario but many players still fall for this. Watch out for cues of players talking loud, slamming card and chips down, and the bullying talk approach.
- Bad hand implies good hand – Alternatively, if a player has a very good hand, he will try to lure you into betting more. This way they can get more wins and take all your chips. Watch out for signs of uncertainness in making decisions (which would make them look like they have a bad hand), signs of disappointment like shaking their heads.
- The shoulder (Part 1) – One of the hardest things to hide is how our shoulders react to stress. Our shoulders twitch or crunch in times of stress so be observant on those signals. If ever you see someone twitching their shoulders, it is most likely that they are stressed, meaning, they don’t have a good hand.
- The Shoulder (Part 2) – Another shoulder movement related to brain reactions that is mostly observable in people is the dropping of the shoulders. This usually happens when someone misses a good card or a good combination. If you don’t notice any changes in the player’s shoulders, then it is most likely that that person is still in the game. But be careful when you see someone doing a very big and obvious shoulder drop. This usually means he is holding a good hand.
- Heavy breathe and pulse – Remember the concept behind lie detectors? The machine reads changes in the person’s pulse rate. Any significant variance in these signs might definitely mean that the person is in stress or excitement. But how can you read this signs, you are not a lie detecting machine? Simple, start with how your opponent breathes and how it changes from time to time. Any slight change in his breathing can be a good sign of either a very good hand, or a very bad hand. Once you’ve noticed that, it’s time for you to read the cards on the table and judge what possible hands your opponent is holding.
- Talk, talk, and talk…or just be quiet – If someone is known to be a quiet guy, it is most likely that he’ll be quiet the whole game. If he suddenly starts to talk about anything, better listen because that could be a cue that he is bluffing. If a person is known to be quiet and he starts to talk, he is most probably experiencing stress in him. And vice-versa, if a person is known to be a huge talker and he starts to get quiet, there is something bothering him – either a very strong hand or a very weak hand.
- The shaky hands – Another sign that people normally can’t control is the way their hands are shake out of nervousness or uneasiness. If a player has shaky hands, he or she is most likely not fit to bluff. Unless he or she is very good, a master, of controlling his bodily functions!
These tips are very useful when playing poker (or any game that involves bluffing). These can help you determine the situation of your opponent so you will know when to make your next move. As Sun Tzu said, if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear a hundred battles.