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When is it a good time to show a bluff? The answer to this is infrequently. The same answer is true about showing good hands.
The reason for this is that when you show your hands to other players at the table then you are giving away free information.
A good player will store this information and will have learned just a little bit more about the way that you play. Gathering information and knowing what to do with it is the key to success in so many areas of life and poker is no different at all.
Why Is Showing a Bluff So Tempting?
Everybody has the desire to show off the monster and rare hands that they have made, like quads, straight flushes, and royal flushes. When you show these hands you are letting other players know the way that you play such strong hands. And when you pull off a really big bluff it is also tempting to show off this hand because, after all, you are pretty proud of the great play that you just made.
But the same problem holds true for a bluff hand as for one of the monster hands that we just discussed. Showing off a bluff gave other players information on how you play a bluff.
Now you may not play these hands the same way all of the time, and it is hopeful that you do not. But regardless of whether you play hands differently at different times it is still information that you should strongly question your benefits for giving away for free.
When you get called and show a big hand or a bluff or actually any kind of a hand at all, you are giving away information but at least other players had to pay to see it. And as far as bluffs are concerned maybe you should wait to show off only the bluffs that you get called on.
Free Advertising versus Paid Advertising
One reason that you may want to show a bluff is for the advertising value. If you are playing in a game where you are not getting as much action as you would like on your good hands, then it may be time to advertise.
Say, for example, you are paying at a table and very few of your good hands are getting called. You do not feel like you are getting even close to full value for these hands because people are just not calling you.
In this kind of situation many times a player will show off a bluff in the hopes that it will entice the other players in the game to call him more on the good hands that he makes. Now rather than showing a bluff for free, you can accomplish the same purpose by starting to bluff a little more often until you finally get caught with one.
Then you are showing the bluff but someone paid to see it. And the other benefit is that you probably bought a couple of extra pots before this happened.
What happens after you have shown a bluff?
Whether your bluff has been called or you have just decided to give away some free information, what happens now? Figuring out the game of poker and why players are doing something or not doing something can go through so many revolutions that it can become mind numbing.
If you have just gotten caught in a bluff and you play the very next hand. Are you going to get called because the other players are going to think that they saw you bluff the last hand or are they not going to call you because they are going to think that you wouldn’t be trying to pull off another bluff the very next hand after you just got caught with one.
So do you bluff more or do you bluff less after you have exposed one? The answer to this is not a clear cut one. It all boils down to what your table image is.
It is always a good idea to try to figure out what kind of a player that the other players in the game think that you are. One hand by itself will not completely alter your table image but it will have an affect on it.
Another Reason to Show a Bluff
There is another reason that players sometimes show off a successful bluff. Players do this sometimes in order to put another player on Tilt.
If a player at the table has been losing and has been hit with a couple of truly bad beats, sometimes by showing them that they were just bluffed causes them to go on tilt to some degree or another. When a player is on tilt they are making bad decisions.
When a player is making bad decisions they are usually losing. When a player is on tilt, making bad decisions, losing, and sitting at your table, it usually means that you are going to win some of the money that he loses.