Texas Holdem Semi-Bluff

If you semi-bluff on the flop and you are called by someone, should you continue betting on fourth street? This of course depends on this situation. If you bet on the flop, many players will call (perhaps with little as one over card) and then throw their hands away for the next bet. This fact argues for betting again. If you always bet again, several players will pick up this style and will call or even raise you on fourth street. Therefore you should give up on many of your semi-bluffs once the turn comes.

One more thing to remember about semi-bluffing is that you should play in such a way that anyone who tries to bluff will make only a small profit. With this awareness it will keep you from betting often in situations where you will simply spend your money away.

For example you flop an open-end straight draw and two flush cards are also on board. Is it correct to bet? Some authorities suggest that this hand should be thrown away. They argue that you can make your hand and further will lose the pot. However, they do not comprehend that you can bet as a semi-bluff. You can bet with a small pair with an over card kicker (especially if your kicker is an ace) that has only five outs if you are called. But when you beat an open-end straight draw at this point and are called, you have either six or eight outs, depending on whether one of your rivals has a flush draw. Precisely, if it is correct to bet the small pair with the high kicker, it is also correct to bet the straight draw when two suited cards are present. This means that if you are against a small number of rivals, a bet is generally the best strategy. If you and your rival check on the turn when a blank hits, indicating that you could be against a flush draw, you may be able to steal the pot if another blank falls on the river. This is true if you check-raise rarely on fourth street.
For example, you hold

And the flop comes

You should bet with this hand if no one else has yet bet and you do not have many rivals.
A hand that gives you an inside-straight draw with two over cards on the flop can be a strong hand. Notice that if you don't win the pot on the flop with a bet, you still may have as many as ten outs. Moreover, if your over cards are high, they alone may be enough to win the pot once all the cards are out. (This may likely happen as your rival may be going for the bottom end of the straight.) Therefore play this hand strongly - especially against a small number of rivals - and be ready to call second time no matter what the fourth-street card comes.

Getting a Free Card

A similar thing to that just now discussed is when a bet on the flop is likely to get a free card. It just occurs that against tough players, your bet will buy you this free card every time, providing that you are in a late position. That is, if you bet and are called, most players will check to you on fourth street.

On the other hand, you need to worry about being check-raised, which is more a function of the rivals that you are up against than of the cards that came on the flop. Some players are likely to check-raise than they are to bet out. We have overemphasized a lot as to know and observe your rival how well they play even when you are out of the pot.

Staying With a Draw

The other idea that some authorities have opposed is playing flush draws when a pair is on board. They argue that the possibility of running into a full house is very high to make this play profitable. It is certainly true that you may run into a full house but then it doesn't mean that your hand can't be played. An important thing to consider is how much money is in the pot. To put other way, the pot should be giving somewhat better odds than if there were no pair showing.

It is essential to consider which pair and off-card are on the flop. For example the flop is

And someone already might have flopped a full house. Now you require more money to continue playing a straight or flush draw. However, if the flop is

It is improbable that you are looking at a full house. Serious players, even those who do not play well, usually throw away hands like 92. Hence not only should you call with your flush draw if someone else bets, you should bet it yourself if they fail to bet.

Likewise what about calling with a straight draw when two flush cards have flopped? Many of the same ideas apply. As you can run into a flush, you should have better than normal pot odds to call. If the pot is small, it is correct to fold. However, folding is not an automatic play and that the pots are large enough to make a call correct. (As mentioned earlier, your best play may be to bet.)

Suppose the board pairs on fourth street. Will you throw away your drawing hands? The answer is, only occasionally. However, you fairly need better pot odds than normal to continue playing. Remember to consider which card has paired and what the other two cards are. Also remember that certain cards will make it possible that someone has made a full house.

On the other hand, if the board pairs on fourth street, someone best, you are next to act, and there are many players behind you, you have to be careful that you may raised if you call. You may be forced to put more money in the pot approximately on a 4-to-1 shot that may be incorrect if the flush or straight card comes. To continue playing at this point the pot will again need to offer enough extra money to compensate. (Here in today's structure, this may not be the same case. That is, there will be enough previous action to make it worthwhile to continue playing. Again consider the board that what kind of card has paired and what kind of rivals you are up against.)

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