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Always prepare for a good semi-bluff

Just as in the situation with the usual bluff, the semi-bluff requires a proper preparation. Of course, you need to make your opponent believe you. In this situation you should bet exactly the same way as if you have a high pocket hand.

Let’s assume that you call after the Big blinder raised with Ace of spades and 10 of spades. The flop reveals Queen of spades, Jack of diamonds and 2 of spades. In situation like this, a player who can be easily read, will raise immediately. On the other hand, with a strong hand he will check hoping for check – raise. If an observant opponent notices this trend, he actually will not make any mistakes and that’s not the point, is it?

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Discussing different situations

Situation 1. Let’s see in which situations you can use bluffing and in which situations you should not when you hold not only a draw but there is a possibility that you have much better hand than the others. For example: your hand is Ace of spades and 9 of spades, you raised from the late position and the Big Blinder called. The flop has revealed the following cards: Queen of spades, 10 of clubs and 5 of spades – you bet and your opponent calls. Now you have nuts flush draw plus an over card and plus the chance that your opponent won’t beat your Ace (analogical is the example with flush or straight draw with a lower pair). On the turn 6 of hearts your opponent again checks. How you should play in this situation?

Against a loose – aggressive player

If your opponent is a loose – aggressive player, you should better check. You may be in better position and you may have 12 outs but there is really no point to bet in this situation. A loose player most probably won’t fold a strong hand and if he has absolutely nothing he is going to fold. On the other hand, like the aggressive player, he can also raise which will cost you a bet. But after your check he can bluff and bet on the river. In this case, if you already managed to improve your hand, you can win on the river.

Against a loose – passive player

If your opponent is a loose – passive player, you should be willing to bet on the turn. The logic here is similar, as in the previous case. Besides, you should not be afraid that he’ll check – raise (the player is passive) and also most probably he won’t use a bluff and place a bet on the river. In other words, the benefit that gave you the check in the previous case here disappears

Against a tight – passive player

If your opponent is a tight passive player, the best decision for you also is to check. Do not forget that this is a tight player and he most probably won’t call on the flop if he has not a strong hand. This is especially true in situations where the flop consists of higher cards, in this case, your opponent can not have two over cards, so the probability for him to call with a draw is not too high.

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Variants of semi-bluff

There are a few variants of semi-bluff. In case you are in early position you may:

  • Bet on the flop and the turn;

  • Check – call on the flop and check – raise on the turn;

  • Check – call on the flop and bet on the turn.

In case you are in late position you have two options:

  • You can bet (raise) on the flop and bet on the turn after your opponent has checked;

  • You can call on the flop and raise on the turn (in case you need to play against an aggressive player).

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The usage of the semi-bluff

The semi-bluff looks more natural when you have a straight draw or a flush draw but this method can be used successfully when you form a low pair. For instance, the community cards are Ace of diamonds, 10 of clubs and 5 of hearts, you feel that your opponent is not very confident and you raise with a hand of 6 of hearts and 5 of spades. Your opponent even with a pocket pair or an Ace will be forced to make a difficult decision. In this situation it is very possible that he’ll fold. But if he doesn’t, you still have your outs.

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Inducing a bluff

In Texas Hold’em poker inducing a bluff means to manipulate your opponents into betting a hand that originally he had not intention of betting. Basically you check your almost sure winning hand with the idea to induce one of your opponents after you to bluff, and then calling or raising to get a bigger pot. The skill to induce a bluff is not that easy to acquire and is a characteristic of an expert player. It is a tactic similar but at the same time different from slow-play. The slow-play usually takes advantage of a good hand of your opponent to defeat him with an even stronger hand played passively since the beginning.

The induced bluff is used mainly on the river or in heads-up situations, but it can be profitable also in other phases of the game … the flop, the turn or in multi-way pots having several active players. The main advantageous points to consider for adopting this technique are the following:
particularly impatient or aggressive or ’tilting’ players, your position worse than that of the potential bluffer … and a big pot of course. None bluffs or should bluff for a few cents. The induced bet should be used when we think that we have the best hand on the river and our value bet would have just a few possibilities to see a call.

Let’s consider for example a limit game where your hole cards are KK or AA, you raise in last position before the flop and one of your opponent calls. The flop is dealt, you bet and your opponent calls you again. On the turn the right thing to do at this point is often to check. On one side it may save you money if your opponent composed a really strong hand, on the other it may induce your opponent to bluff on the river, giving you one more bet as a gift.

Playing poker online at one of the top poker rooms is a good way to improve this skill!