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How to Bluff

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The game of life is a lot like the game of poker.  We are always looking to extract maximum value out of the hand that life has given us and always looking to get an edge.  Some of the most successful people are those that are experts at reading body language and applying misdirection, also known as bluffing.  This article looks at how to bluff like a master.

What is Bluffing?

Simply defined, bluffing is the art of using deception and misdirection to achieve a goal.  For example, you may want to get a raise at work and will threaten to leave your position if you do not get the job. You really have no intention to quit, but you feel strongly that you can get a raise by running this bluff.

Know Your Adversary

The first key in bluffing, whether in poker or real life, is to know your opponent. Are they the type of person that is going to believe you and take your bluff at face value? Adversely, are they someone that does not intimidate easily and will call your bluff regardless of whether they believe you or not.

If you are going into your boss’ office to request a raise “or you’re quitting” you need to know whether your boss values your work enough where the bluff will work.  If you are easily replaceable, then your bluff is going to fail.

Don’t Tip off That You’re Bluffing

One of the worst things you can do when trying to bluff someone is give off  what they call in poker as “tells”.  These are clues that gives your adversary information about your hand, or in this case your intentions.

For example, car salesmen are experts at sniffing out tells on people.  They can tell when they have a person “on the hook” so to speak for a vehicle and with those people they can extract the maximum amount for the car they are selling.

When you are shopping for a car with these people, you want to pull back the reigns on your tells.  Keep to the facts about the car and don’t show too much emotion over how great the vehicle is.  You might want to shop around a bit and counter with prices you have seen elsewhere to throw the salesman off their game.

Leave Yourself Outs

When bluffing, leave yourself an out in the event that your bluff is called.  For example, you might want to update your resume and test the job market waters before asking that boss for a raise.  For that car you are looking at, you might actually want to contact a couple of dealerships and see what the best price is on the car in the event your preferred dealer doesn’t want to give you your price.

Leaving yourself outs is known as semi-bluffing in poker.  You really don’t have the hand to carry out your threat, but under the right circumstances you can still achieve your desired result.

There are a multitude of other ways to improve your bluffing skills, but these three principles are great ways to start honing your bluffing skills in poker or the real world.

What are some other tricks you can explain to teach someone how to bluff? Put them in the comments below.