What makes the difference between semi-bluffing and reckless chasing of cards into the turn and the river? The simple answer is odds.
Different from full bluffing, semi-bluffing means you’ve at least got something good developing to make for a winning hand by the time the river card comes. The benefits of this are that there’s a chance for both a winning hand to be put together by the river, or for your opponent to buy into the bluff and fold. The challenge in this is understanding what odds you have in hitting certain cards that would complete a potential winning hand. Even still, that’s banking on the notion that nobody else at the table is sporting a hand that can beat the cards you might have caught on the turn and river.
In the free poker world, such as Triplejack, the lines between semi-bluffing and reckless card chasing get blurred a whole lot, particularly in non-tournament play. Player have little to lose in a free game, and therefore are generally much less protective of their chips. As those prize tournaments wind down to their final handful of players, knowing the proper situation to execute a semi-bluff could do wonders in working toward that big prize.
Over at CardsChat.com, they’ve put together a detailed breakdown of all the ins and outs of semi bluffing. Check it out below.
Poker betting strategy – The semi-bluff
You will see a lot written about bluffing in poker. Super aggressive maniacs will base their betting strategy on knocking people off pots and will therefore focus a great deal on bluffing. But poker is far more complex, although the semi-bluff should still be a vital part of your poker arsenal.
The semi-bluff poker play – a definition
So what exactly is a poker semi-bluff? Well the simple definition is whenever you bet with a hand that has good potential to become the best hand by the river, you are semi-bluffing. You are bluffing because you currently have no hand when you bet. However, you have good “outs” to end up with the best hand by the time the last card is dealt.
And that’s why this tactic is called a semi-bluff, not a pure bluff. You are betting with “something”, not simply with air.
Why is a semi-bluff a good poker betting strategy?
The profit you earn from playing semi-bluffing poker comes from having two ways in which you can win the pot. If your opponent folds to your bluff bet, then your bluff will work and you get paid off. While if you actually make your draw you win by having the best hand.
This makes it hard to counter semi-bluff poker plays because it is difficult to determine when your opponent actually has a hand, when he is pure bluffing and when he is chasing a monster draw. If a player varies his play correctly, he can keep his opponents guessing.
Of all the species of poker animal out there, the tight aggressive players will find semi-bluff poker betting strategies more profitable because fewer players in general will call their bluffs. Their table image has been cultivated to show a player who aggressively plays a few good hands. Thus opponents will often fold to their semi-bluff bets.
The bad poker semi-bluff
Although many players understand what a semi-bluff is, they rarely use it correctly. Many beginners make the costly mistake of betting when they should be checking, and checking when they should be betting.
So how do you know when you should bet and when you should check? The simple formula is as follows:
Pot equity + fold equity = profitability.
The more pot equity you have, the more likely you are to win by making your draw. Fold equity refers to the chance of getting your opponent to fold. Therefore, the more pot equity you have, the less you need to worry about your opponent folding. While, the more timid and cautious your opponent is – and thus the more likely they are to fold – the less pot equity you need (and that is why pure bluffs work so well against timid players).
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