Poker and the Art of Bluffing in Relationships



Generally, honesty is the best policy when it comes to communication within relationships, but it’s not going to get you very far when it comes to the poker table. For those into poker online with real money stakes some great options for new players are Betonline, Ignition Poker, and Bovada. For those who like to play but also have a relationship that needs some help, then we’ve figured that you might have developed some useful poker skills which can also be applied here.

Avoiding Harmful Truths

There are some instances where bluffing might benefit you. At the poker table, you might have a weak hand but if you’ve been consistently strong then you could embellish the strength of your hand with a quick raise or check. In a relationship, bluffing can help you avoid revealing harmful truths. I.e. your partner asks you about how they look in a new dress or suit, you say they look great even if secretly you know it isn’t the most flattering look. These are the exact metrics that poker players execute as they try to avoid the fact they’ve got a terrible hand.

Leading Up to a Big Play

In poker and relationships, grand actions or gestures can often land well and help you go further. It might be that you’re being passive for a few rounds, hiding your true ambitions to strike a little bit later. This type of bluff has a lot in common with the act of lying when you’re planning a special occasion or surprise event for a loved one. I.e. they ask, ‘Have we got anything planned for next weekend?’ you don’t want to give the surprise up, so you say no, but to keep it free, as you don’t want them to double book.

Building Up Confidence

Okay, this one works both ways. The very best poker players can instill a false sense of confidence in their opponents by allowing them some cheap wins, before revealing their true ability and taking all their money. While this seems outwardly negative, the same practises can help relationships foster. If you’re partner has a big project, a job interview or another high-stress situation being able to help them build their confidence with compliments of their abilities will assist them take a positive mindset in their endeavors.

Softening Bad News

If you have to break some bad news to your partner, it could be a good idea to bluff the severity of the issue. Bluffing on multiple details can help your partner digest the problem. One example is breaking news about a loved one who has passed away. Instead of detailing all the gory details of their death in pain, it would be a better idea to simply state they died peacefully. In the future, after the initial shock, you can potentially reveal the full details.

Resolution Measure

Sometimes in the heat of an argument, the best way to resolve an issue (even if temporarily) is to bluff that you are past the issue and that you accept the other person’s opinion. It can be a bitter pill to swallow but allowing the issue to submerge and neutralize the argument status has a lot of benefit. If the issue is still prevalent, it can be discussed at a later stage when emotions are not going to play a major role in the conversation.

However, don’t leave your bluff going too long in this case. In such cases, holding on to the bluff and the grudge may harbor more untoward feelings and emotions.

Remember That Honesty is the Best

While all of the above situations can yield good results when bending the truth, lying, or ‘bluffing’ remember that you shouldn’t take these practices into your daily life with your partner. Eventually, the dishonesty will catch up with you and leave your relationship in a confused state with your partner. Be sure to employ honesty throughout the majority of your life and only bluff where it is necessary and where the negative impacts of being caught out in the lie won’t have too many repercussions.

Also, think about your ability to bluff. If you’re not competent in bending the truth, then don’t do it. If you can’t keep a straight face when bluffing and revealing your tell, you wouldn’t do it at the poker table, so don’t do it with your partner. Your partner is probably the person who knows you best, so if they know you tell, you should just stick to the truth.

Tyler Darby

Tyler Darby