Semi Bluff Introduction
A semi bluff is a bet made on the flop or turn designed to pick up the pot immediately or improve by the river and win at showdown. It’s usually a bet made with a straight or flush draw or with two overcards to the board.
Let’s look at an example:
The blinds are 50/100 and you raise to 225 with:
You are called by the big blind. The flop falls:
Your opponent checks, you bet 325 and he raises to 1,100. You decide to move all in for 5,200. Your opponent folds.
Now, at this exact moment you have ten high but let’s look at the hand closer. You have an open ended straight flush draw giving you 15 likely outs to win the pot by the river. This represents approximately 57% chance of the winning hand, if we assign your opponent a hand like Ace Jack offsuit. This is a perfect moment to semi bluff all in and either pick up the pot now or if you are called, win by showdown.
When do I Semi Bluff?
As always, position is important when semi bluffing, as is the stack sizes. It is usually a good idea to have deep stacks or sufficient fold equity when considering semi bluffing. There’s not much point trying any type of bluff if you are committed to calling your opponents all in.
Trying to semi bluff out of position is not a simple as in position but it can be achieved by check raising and defining an opponent’s range. This allows you the opportunity to outright bluff later if you miss your hand. Naturally the benefit of being in position is seeing how your opponent acts before you decide to bet. This is not possible when you are first to act thus semi bluffing becomes tricky.
History and Context
Semi Bluffing is a tendency and behaviour habit. Weak players tend not to think about semi bluffing draws and will often call down or do crazy nonsensical bluffs. It’s important to be aware of what you have shown down in hands and think about the context of the hand and history with your opponent. Ask yourself questions below when considering semi bluffing lines in hands.
- Do I play strong hands like this?
- Have I semi bluffed this session and shown it down?
- Is my opponent observant?
- Is my opponent likely to fold here or later in the hand if I continue to bet?
Semi bluffing is another weapon in the professional player’s arsenal that can be employed many times a session intuitively. If you have an aptitude for maths and observe your opponent’s closely, you too should be using the semi bluff often.
I hope you enjoyed this article on semi bluffing. If you are interested in improving your bluffing, we have a poker course dedicated to it.