Feb 25, 2018

The How and Why of Semi-bluffing

In any poker game, player will customarily use deception to win the game with two related, but profoundly different methods- bluffing and semi-bluffing. A semi-bluff is a situation when a player makes a bet with a weak hand, but has better prospects to become a very strong hand. In simple terms, it’s a more similar to bluff except that it is made while holding a draw.

Let’s say you have a flush draw and makes a bet into the pot. You hope to win the pot anticipating other players will fold. However, if other players do not fold, you still have a good chance at improving and winning as you have some outs to win on the river. You can also try another bluff on the river bet. Normally, the strength of this technique is that you will always have two approaches to win- when your opponent folds and when they do not.

When to use and when not to use?

It should be attempted when you are playing against one or two opponents as if you tried attempting it on more than two players, then there are strong chances that one of them will have a strong hand. Semi-bluffing should be done when you are playing against tight players who are quick to fold and you get a chance to win the pot instantaneously. Your opponents will not fold in a loose no-fold'em game and most of the time, you will have to show down the best hand to win whereas it is a valuable technique in a tight-aggressive game.

How is it different from bluffing?

A bluff is a situation when you bet or raise with a weak hand simply because you know your opponent won’t call. You are aware of the fact that you will probably lose if you are being called since you typically bluff with a bad hand or a busted draw. This makes bluffing a risky affair and it usually depends on how well you read your opponents.  Semi-bluffing is more frequently used because even if you get called, you still have a chance to draw and complete your hand.

Advantages of using semi-bluffing

  • Having a reasonable draw enhances worth to your hand.
  • You can play in every bluffing situation.
  • You can bet aggressively which you otherwise might have avoided in straight bluffing.
  • The hand that you draw is usually a set or top pair since you are on a draw when you semi-bluff.
  • There are better chances of you winning the pot whether or not you complete the draw, provided you get your opponent to buy this.
  • You will be able to make the bigger best on the turn and river if your draw ends up completing.
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