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The “blocking bet” (or blocker bet) is made when you are out of position and wish to see either a showdown or a river card cheaply. If used effectively it can prevent your opponent from making a big bet that you can not profitably call.
If used incorrectly, or in the wrong circumstances, this blocking bet is simply a waste of chips.
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An example of a blocking bet.
Action is folded around to you pre-flop. You limp in from the small blind with JTo, your opponent raises from the big blind pre-flop, and you call. The flop comes down A–J–2. You check, and he makes a continuation bet, which you call. The turn brings a 5, you check, and your opponent checks. Now the river brings a 8, and you are not sure if you have the best hand. If you do, you know your opponent wont call a large bet, so you decide to make a smallish blocking bet on the river to try and get some thin value from weaker pairs and get to showdown cheaply.
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The blocking bet is simply where you make a smaller than average sized bet when first to act in order to reduce the amount of money that you pay to see the next card.
By making a small bet, you anticipate that your opponent will just call and not raise. As a result, you will not have to call what would have been a larger bet from them (in comparison to your “blocker bet”) if you had checked.
The advantages of the blocking bet.
There are two advantages to the blocking bet play.
- If you complete your draw, you expect to get paid off well.
- It is only necessary when you are out of position.
1) If you make your flush on the river then you are very likely to be paid off by any player with a pair or better. The blocking bet stopped your opponent from betting an amount that you would not have been able to call – and also disguised your holding at the same time. If you miss the river then a check and fold is probably optimal here against most opponents.
2) If the positions had been reversed – you were on the button rather than the out of position player – then a blocking bet would not have been necessary here. Your opponent would have acted before you and could have bet enough that you were unable to call. If – after seeing his flop bet called – the player checked on the turn you would have been in a position to check behind to try and make your flush with a free card.
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