How to Learn Bluffing from ‘The Usual Suspects’

Usual Suspects is one of the classic movie with the greatest screenplays ever. This movie was released in the year 1995 and created a huge sensation among the audience back in the day. It is a movie that every card game player should watch at least as the movie teaches how to play poker like a pro. The movie is about a federal custom about trying to get information from a naïve con man named ‘Verbal Kint’. In the film, the audience finds it difficult to recognize what is real and what is not. In the end, he reveals his true identity and all things suddenly starts making sense. The twist ending is the most brilliant example of bluffing. As a player you can learn valuable lessons from the noir classic about how to make the powerful strategy for you at the poker game tables.


Verbal created the characters and major details of the story from things scattered around the office where he was being interrogated.  In order to add realism to the story, he pulled the names from items familiar to the agent.  Like in poker, you cannot have the best cards you play, you need to bluff to make the opponents lay their good cards down. As a bluff you make continuation bet, play aggressively, give false tells, reveal a card etc. as per the situation.  You should learn how to make bluff so convincing that the most experienced player as well buy it.  Never get attached to a bluff.  If your opponent is way too unpredictable to risk money, throw away your cards and wait for the next hand.

Appearance Can be Deceptive

Never judge a book by its cover. Verbal behaved like a mild-mannered person in front of the interrogator. In the final scenes, it is revealed that he is none other than mythical crime-lord Keyser Soze himself.  At the poker tables, people are not what they seem. The aggressive opponent doesn’t need to be carrying the best cards always. Limping doesn’t indicate a poor starting hand. Other than learning the basic rules, you should learn how to create a persona according to the requirement of the situation. To conceal true intentions and keep your opponent off guard, you should put on a misleading appearance. You have to prove to the opponents that you are a serious player who plays with strong hands only.

Stay One Step Ahead

The interrogator intimidated Verbal in every possible way to extract the truth from him. He observed his thinking beliefs, process and perceptions and fabricated a story accordingly. In the game, you should know how to play poker card and when to bluff. Make it only if factors like image, table position, pot odds, chip stack, betting history of the hand, opponents playing style etc. allow you to do so. Take your time to assessing the table for few hands, predict his hand range, identifying your target and read his betting pattern. If you bluff against any loose player who re-raises a lot, then the chances are higher than it will get unsuccessful. You need to understand the opponents thinking process and level of skills to create the game plan.

Bluffing is about psychological advantage over your opponents. Try to use it against only those players   whom you believe will fold the cards if they have a strong hand. The move should be unpredictable completely to your opponents.  If you leave any hint of your intentions for your opponent, your bluff will fall flat on its face. The way you will do depends on strategic thinking, patience and decision making skills.

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