One of the skills that you have to learn if you are going to be successful at poker is how to bluff. That being said you do have to be careful to not over rate its value. There are certainly times when it makes sense to bluff but it is far from the only thing that you have to be able to do in order to be a good poker player.
There is no doubt that bluffing is an important part of poker but it is by no means the only thing that is important in the game. In reality it is fairly rare that you are able to win solely by bluffing, you ultimately have to have the cards. That being said if you don’t bluff your game will become quite predictable and that will make it much harder to win. It is therefore important that you learn how to bluff but even more importantly when to bluff.
There are a couple of reasons that you would want to bluff, the first is to make people think that you have a stronger hand than you actually do in the hopes of getting them to drop out. The other reason that you would want to bluff is to convince people that you have a weaker hand than you actually do in order to keep them in. this second type of bluffing is far more important as it is critical to your being able to win at poker. That being said in a surprising number of cases it is possible to do quite well without having to bluff at all.
When you are first learning to play poker it is best to not bluff at all and this will continue to be true as long as you play with mediocre players. Most inexperienced players will bluff far too often and they will also play their hands far too often. The result is that if you just stick to playing the cards that you have and only playing when you have a strong hand you can do quite well. As you move on to playing with better players however you will have to start bluffing in order to be successful.
Once you reach a level where bluffing is necessary you are still going to want to be very cautious about how often you do it. In most cases it is best not to, you want to do it just enough to reduce the predictability of your game. Even then you are not going to want to do it unless you have an out. The key to being successful at poker is money management and that means making sure that you don’t suffer any large losses. When you bluff you put yourself at risk of taking large losses so you have to be very careful.