How Can Bluffing Work in Online Poker?

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Online poker for real money tries its best to replicate the live game. One of the most critical factors to playing poker in person is knowing when to bluff to deceive your opponents and coerce them into thinking about your hand. Obviously playing online is a little different if you’re not playing with a webcam, so can you still find a way to bluff when playing poker for real money online?

Trying to build player false confidence

While you can’t control how other players feel about their chances of winning, you can certainly influence it. If you can trick your fellow players into thinking that you are a weaker player, you might be able to lead them into a false sense of security. I.e., if you decide to fold or make a weak call when you have a significantly stronger hand than the other players, your opponents could think that you are a novice and try to beat you every time; of course, you can then show your prowess by playing to your actual abilities, hopefully winning a few hands in the process.

Give misleading communications

If the poker room you use has communication means like the ability to send messages or emoticons, you can use this feature to bluff. Whether you have a good or bad hand, you can use the chat functions to tell your fellow players that you have the opposite as you try to coerce a specific action.


Just like in the live version of poker, bet-sizing is a great way to influence how other players perceive your hand. If you go hell-for-leather with an astronomically high raise or wager on your hand, then everyone will think that you have a good hand. If you had nothing and everyone folds, you’ve done a good bluff. This works really well online as you can usually place bets in custom increments instead of being stuck to the chip denominators in a live casino.

Take your time

Poker players can often exploit all the time available to them when they are in deep thought about what they should do with their hands. You might not be thinking about it too much, if you have a Royal Flush, you will play it. However, if you bluff by taking your time you could fool other players that your hand isn’t as strong as you’ve got to consider what to do. Conversely, instantly selecting your next action will signal that you clearly have a great hand – but you might have a very poor one.

Table and screen image

One of the most significant insights into a player is how they present themselves. Many sites allow users to pick their profile name, picture, and flag. The profile name can be as simple as your real name or a custom label – what does yours say about you? Something boisterous like Poker_Elite_$900 suggests that you are a confident player. Or Phil_Ivey might trick a few players into thinking that you are the legendary poker player. The pictures are often similar, too. While you can’t always change the flag, it’s usually generated by your locality. You could always access the site through a VPN to tell the site that you’re logging on from a remote country where poker isn’t popular, like Fiji or Tahiti, and then players might underestimate your ability.

Players feel less inclined to play ‘fairly’

Some old-school poker players think that bluffing is just one step away from lying. Such honorable players try not to do this throughout their play sessions, especially when playing with a group of people in a live setting. However, the online poker setting presents a different style of thinking. Their opponent is no longer staring back at them; they are just a picture on a screen. Therefore, they have no loyalties or hesitation to bluff against them.

When bluffing is better offline

While all the attributes mentioned above and practices do make online poker bluffing possible, there are times when it’s better in a live setting. When you can see your opponent, you can give off body language, and you can’t be muted (unlike chat functions on poker websites), meaning that your opponents are complicit to your comms whether they like it or not.

In addition, post-hand reactions are usually amplified when in person. After a hand, you can generally see the jubilation or devastation on a player’s face or in their eyes (revealing if they were bluffing or not), depending on the result. Online, it’s unlikely that players will share these reactions.

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Master reviewer of all types of products. Love XL Fountain Sodas!! Cheer Mom extraordinaire. Socialite to all things small town and founder of Come socialize and connect with me.

2 thoughts on “How Can Bluffing Work in Online Poker?

  • I dont have a poker face and I really don’t know if I could pull off online bluffing!

  • Thank you for sharing

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