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  • September 23, 2020

Poker strategy: Semi Bluff

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What is a semi bluff?
The semi bluff is another form of poker bluff. Now we have already talked about bluffing and we have covered the value bet but semi bluffing isn’t exactly one or the other, it’s a little bit of both.
A semi bluff is a bet you would make with a drawing hand vs some sort of made hand. In some cases you can be making a semi bluff and be a 70/30 under dog or depending on how strong your drawing hand is, you can actually be a favorite against some top pair or even over pair type hands. We’ll go into more detail of the specifics of that scenario in a later article.
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How a semi bluff benefits you
A semi bluff achieves a few things. Firstly you can win the hand there and then and make someone fold a better hand (normally a weak top pair, under pair, middle pair type hand). Secondly you can make your hand and possibly win a huge pot (if your opponent calls your semi bluff). Lastly it helps cultivate the aggressive image at the table that could help you get paid with your good hands later in the game, especially if you go to the showdown and do not improve, others at the table will start to give you less credit when they are involved in hands with you. Just always be aware of your image at the table and adjust your game depending how you feel others perceive you.
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Semi bluffing scenario
Imagine your hold Ace, Jack of clubs and your opponent holds QQ. The flop comes down King of clubs, 9 of clubs and 7 of hearts. You now have an over card and the nut flush draw, your about a 47/53 under dog (nearly even money). you have nine clubs and four aces that will immediately improve you to the best hand for 13 clear outs.
So now imagine you are in the shoes of the person holding QQ and they raised pre flop (as you would with QQ), they fire a continuation bet only to be faced with a raise by you (semi bluff). In this case with a king high flop, I imagine a lot of players would either fold or call which is fine for you because being nearly a 50/50 to win the hand anyway, when you factor in the percentage of times that they’ll fold (fold equity) in this spot, you’ll go from being a slight under dog to winner.
But remember that semi bluffing isn’t an exact science and not every scenario is as cut and shut as this, some times you’ll not have over cards to go with your draw (losing a few of your outs), sometimes they’ll have aces here (again losing your ace outs), sometimes you’ll be in the hand with a complete calling station that never folds (losing your fold equity). Semi bluffs are another weapon in your arsenal so use them wisely.
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