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The semi bluff

While watching poker games on the TV, you can see very often players playing very aggressively. In fact, aggression is a key element in Texas Hold'em and semi-bluffing is the most formidable weapon that can ensure victory even in situations that appear without solution.

This tactic must be used when betting or raising with a drawing hand, but there are two cases:
1) your opponent folds and you had the chance to win the pot without much effort,
2) he calls and you have enough outs to get a good chance to win the hand.

Think about it this way. If your have a flush draw and an open-ended straight draw, your chance of winning are 55%. If your opponent does not fold, you have invested 50% in the pot with 55% odds, an excellent spot to be in. In other words drawing hands are extremely strong and you play them aggressively.

What are the advantages of the semi-bluff?

Put yourself in the shoes of your opponent. If he always sees you making big bets with big hands, he is easier for him to make correct decisions.

But if you occasionally put a big bet with a semi-bluff, your play will force your opponent to make mistakes. He may call with a weaker hand of fold when his hand is better than yours. Be less predictable to follow the main theorem of poker.

How to semi-bluff:

You must make sure that your semi-bluff is believable as if you had a strong hand.

For example, if you call a pre flop raise in the big blind with ace-jack of clubs. You are heads-up and the flop is QT4 with two clubs. The correct play here is to make a check-raise as if you had a made hand.

Make a quick check-raise on the flop but not too big so as to give the impression that you are value-raising. If called you must make a big bet at the turn. The purpose of betting on the flop is to strengthen the bluff on the turn. The really skilled bluffer will three barrel if necessary. Bluffing the river with no hands is excellent as the bluffing steps developed earlier come to your support.

Limits are endless:

As you learn the style of the other players, you can use it to your advantage. For example it is an excellent play against tight-passive players who often fold when faced with aggression, unless they have a monster.