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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Advanced players will bluff when a scare card hits

The aim of this video is to make you aware that advanced players will bet on the turn or river card when a scare card hits.

First of all you have to identify who the advanced players are on the table. I was playing with this player for a while in this session and saw them making a lot of squeeze plays, which I added to my player notes. When you come back to player notes you can pickup information which you would have forgotten about otherwise, so make use of them.
What I mean by squeeze plays is when someone would limp into the pot, they would raise the pot to try and steal the dead money. From this read alone I can identify they are an advanced player.

In this hand I was dealt pocket 9’s in BB. The advanced player raised the pot in position and I decide to call to see a flop.

The flop comes 882 which is a good flop for my hand. The initial raiser makes a standard continuation bet which they would do on this board texture, so I call.

The turn card is a K, which is a scare card for me. A high card like a A or K is a scare card because if they were making a squeeze play with a premium hand like AK then they have hit. However, considering they have been aggressive with squeeze plays, they were definitely raising pre flop with a much wider range of hands.

So when they bet the turn scare card, I decide to call. The river goes check/check and I win the pot. If villain had made a large bet on the river, then I would consider they may have the K.