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Poker is not just a mathematical game. It is also a game that entails a lot of psychological combat. Three of the most important psychological weapons in poker are bluffing, semi-bluffing, and slowplaying.

Bluffing is much more useful in a no-limit game than in a limit game. In a no-limit game, a player's entire stack is at risk each hand. In a limit game, players know they can only lose so much if they call to the river.

Bluffing is almost useless in a low-stakes limit game (anything less than $2-$4). Rarely will a hand not be called to showdown, so there is no point in scaring people out of the pot. Bluffing becomes a much more powerful tool at high-limit games. When you play at a higher limit, it's best to bluff when you 'represent' something and there are only one or two opponents in the pot. For example, betting at the flop with a high card on the board represents a pair, and raising with a flush draw out represents the flush.

Semi-bluffing is the name for bluffing when you also hold a drawing hand.

Your Hand

You currently only have ace high, but you may hit a spade flush or make a pair of aces or kings. If you bet with this hand, you are bluffing, but you also have a high likelihood of gaining a strong hand on later betting rounds. Semi-bluffing can be a very useful technique, especially in no-limit games.

Slowplaying means deceiving your opponents into thinking you have a weak hand, when in fact you hold a powerhouse.

Your Hand

You flopped a full house! There is no need to scare people out of the pot, because there is little chance of someone drawing out on you. You should wait till the turn or maybe even the river to jam the pot with bets and raises. You should slowplay if two conditions are met:

1. You hold a whopper, and there is almost no chance of someone drawing on you, and

2. You will only get action if some other cards come out that improve your opponents' hands but not by so much that they will beat your hand.

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