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Expectation And Hourly Rate The Fundamental Theorem Of Poker The Ante Structure Pot Odds Effective Odds Implied Odds and Reverse Implied Odds The Value of Deception Win the Big Pots Right Away The Free Card The Semi-Bluff Defense Against the Semi-Bluff Raising Check-Raising Slowplaying Loose and Tight Play Position Bluffing Game Theory and Bluffing Inducing and Stopping Bluffs Hands-Up On The End Reading Hands The Psychology of Poker Analysis at the Table Evaluating the Game

The important thing to notice from this example is that both a pure bluff by itself and a value bet by itself would be wrong. Had you bet as a pure bluff, you would be getting only 3-to-1 odds for a wager that has only one chance in five of winning poker rules.

 Had you bet only for value – that is, with the certainty your opponent will call you would also be making an incorrect play since you have estimated that you are a 7-to-3 underdog.

You are wagering even money (your $20 bet for a $20 call) when the odds are 2¹∕³-to-1 against your wining. However, the combination of the two possibilities namely, winning with a bluff or winning by improving to the best hand makes a semi-bluff bet not just a good play but a mandatory one. Just as a semi-bluff bet can be profitable, so too can a semi-bluff raise. Suppose in hold’em you start with


and the flop comes


Everybody checks. The next card is the

which gives you a flush draw and an inside-straight draw (not to mention a straight-flush draw). If someone now bets, you should raise. Even if that person folds only 20 percent of the time, the combined possibilities of winning right there and of making the best hand when he calls turns raising in this spot into a more profitable play than just calling.

 In general, when there is a possibility of wining the hand right there, even a slight one, it is important to bet or raise. What’s more, sometimes when you think you are semi-bluffing, you are actually poker betting the best hand.

Another consideration when deciding to semi-bluff is the size of the pot. The larger the pot, hence the bigger the pot odds you are getting, the smaller your chances of getting away with a semi-bluff need to be to make the play profitable. Game theory suggests the opposite that you should bluff less with a larger pot, assuming expert opponents. However, in practice most players do not adjust their calling strategy correctly to the size of the pot, which makes both semi-bluff and pure bluffs more profitable when the pot is large.


The Semi Bluff | Advantages of the Semi-Bluff

When Not to Semi-Bluff

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