Bluffing your opponent is an incredibly risky tactic, but when it works there isn’t a much sweeter feeling in the game.
When you have a weak or weaker hand than your opponent, you can bluff by betting or raising to trick them into believing you’re in a much stronger position than you actually are.
The idea behind this move is to make the other player fold, as they will win the hand if they call your bet.
To do this, you would obviously have to bet a serious stake, which shows how risky this tactic can be.
For example, you could bluff when the only way you believe you can win the hand is by making your opponents fold.
In this situation, you’ll have a poor hold with little to no chance of improvement.
So in that case, you’ll likely have something such as a Pair or Two Pair, or maybe even nothing at all. Clearly, that isn’t enough in the vast majority of hands for you to receive the pot.
There are examples, however, where you may have something like Three of a Kind and still be vulnerable to a Straight, so you would have to bluff in order to come out on top.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of five expert bluffs by professionals to give you an idea of how it works, and how great it feels to successfully pull one off.
5. Phil Ivey vs Paul Jackson
This intense poker battle sees Phil Ivey bluff his way to victory against Paul Jackson.
Ivey begins this hand with the Queen and 8 of Hearts, while Jackson holds a 6 and a 5, so there isn't too much to get excited about, although Ivey does have a 64% chance of winning.
The Flop reveals two Jacks and a 7, so it does neither player any immediate help.
This is where things get interesting though, as Ivey bets $80,000.
After some deliberation, Jackson decides to re-raise to $170,000, a staggering number considering he doesn't have anything worthy in his hand.
Both men are trying to convince the other that they might have at least one Jack, and Ivey responds with another raise, this time to $320,000.
Jackson takes his time again, before raising the stakes to $470,000, meaning the value of the pot is almost $1,000,000.
It takes Ivey over a minute to make his next move, which is to go all-in, a seriously bold move given the circumstances.
The bluff pays off as Jackson folds, ending a truly gripping hand of poker.
4. Tom Dwan vs J.C. Tran
Another classic example of gambling that you will be rewarded on the Turn or the River from Tom Dwan, as he steals a pot worth $150,000 from J.C. Tran.
He is dealt a Queen and a 10, while Tran gets a 10 and an Ace, but is only one card away from a Straight when the Flop produces 9, Ace and Jack, before another Jack comes up on the Turn.
Dwan then bets 14k, which Tran is more than happy to call as he is sat with Two Pair and in a much more favourable position, having an 82% chance of a win.
Not only does the River not come to Dwan’s rescue, but it hands his opponent a Full House, as a third Jack finds its way into the middle.
With just a High Card Queen to his name, the American knows he now must make Tran fold to come away with the pot.
As a result of that, he goes all-in to put a seed of doubt in Tran’s mind, and the latter subsequently must work out whether it is a bluff, or if Dwan has the fourth King.
Luckily for Dwan his gamble pays off as Tran folds, and you can see the relief on his face.
3. Emir Mislimi vs Dominik Nitsche
Unlike the two cases above, Emir Mislimi actually has a pretty solid hand against Dominik Nitsche.
Unfortunately for the Albanian, his opponent just has a much better set of cards, so he has to bluff his way to victory even with Three of a Kind.
Mislimi gets Pocket 2s compared to Nitsche’s 4 and 5, and the Flop immediately hands him the advantage with a third 2 coming up, as well as an 8 and a 3.
However, that leaves his opponent needing just a 6 to appear in the next two cards for him to land a Straight.
Nitsche risks a $22,000 bet hoping that his card will come up for him, but Mislimi raises to $50,000.
A 7 is out next, and each player adds an extra $30,000 to the pot, and Nitsche’s gamble pays off as the River throws up the 6 he needed to complete a Straight.
Knowing that there is a big possibility of his adversary having that hand, Mislimi employs a trap by checking, to which he is raised $88,000.
Now, the only way out for him is to bluff – which he does expertly.
He goes all in to put the pressure on Nitsche, who folds.
Brilliantly, Mislimi turns his cards over and shows Nitsche that he had been played, and the latter cannot believe that he cost himself a pot of $512,000.
2. Tom Dwan vs Peter Eastgate vs Barry Greenstein
Tom Dwan makes another appearance in this list, with a brilliant execution of a bluff that lands him a $237,700 pot.
Dwan is dealt the 10 and Queen of Clubs to start off in a strong position, while Greenstein has Pocket Aces, and Eastgate has a 2 and a 4.
On the Flop, two 2s and a 10 are brought into the game. Although Dwan has Two Pair, it isn't as strong as Greenstein's due to the Aces.
The latter bets $10,000, but is astonishingly raised to $37,300 by Dwan, which causes all bar two of his opponents to fold.
Eastgate calls with his Three of a Kind hand, and is matched by Greenstein. When the Turn produces a 7, Eastgate has a massive 90% chance of winning.
However, Dwan bets another $104,200 after his two rivals have checked, and after much deliberation Eastgate folds his almost bulletproof hand.
This leaves Greenstein in the driving seat with his likelihood of winning the hand at 95%, but he too is fooled by Dwan's incredible bluff and folds.
The players around the table begin to speculate about whether it was a bluff, and Dwan reveals that he knew Eastgate had the best hand.
Bluffing doesn't get much better than that.
1. Yeu Wei Hsiang vs Sergey Lebedev
Yeu Wei Hsiang shows another example of a player needing the River to bail them out, but to no avail.
Instead, he relied on an excellent bluff to get him out of trouble against Sergey Lebedev.
He starts with a Jack and a 9 against Lebedev’s Ace and 8, and the Flop does neither player any favours by producing two 10s and a 6.
The Turn adds an 8 to the hand, which sees off one player who folds, but gives Lebedev Two Pair and Hsiang only needs a 7 or a Jack to take control with a Straight.
Lebedev bets $700,000 and is called by Hsiang, although he is in a spot of bother when another 8 comes up on the River, handing the Russian a Full House.
As a result, Lebedev bets another $1,000,000, but he is clearly shocked when Hsiang decides to go all-in with $4,245,000.
After mulling over his next move for some time, he folds and hands an enormous pot of $8,095,000, keeping a relieved Hsiang in the game.