This is a crucial part of texas holdem poker strategy. Semi-bluffing is betting with a hand that needs improvement to win such as a straight or flush draw. With the goal of winning the pot right away by forcing opponents to fold, create deception or both.
Semi-bluffing when on a draw can be a calculated investment when the odds are correct and will show an overall profit. Not to mention using a tight-aggressive strategy in texas holdem gets too much respect sometimes and semi-bluffing will appear loose and reckless to some opponents. This will generate action on future strong made hands like flopping a set, straight or flush, even a full house. Especially when draws and made hands are played the same way. Anyone using this technique correctly will never have to slow play a big hand in order to get action. Semi-bluffing can also create good situations to follow through with a total bluffs.
Multi-Way Pot Semi-Bluff
A pot is multi-way when three or more players are involved in the hand. This is not a spot where semi-bluffing is likely to win the pot right away. For valuable information on semi-bluffing in multi-way pots continue to building a pot in holdem.
Short-Handed Pot Semi-Bluff
When the pot involves three or less players it is shorthanded. Pots are usually small so do not risk to much here. You should semi-bluff when you can win the pot right away by forcing your opponent(s) to fold.
Also if a bet should be called in order to draw then it is better to bet. For example, if you suspect an opponent has a marginal hand and is going to bet if you check, then you should bet. Put the pressure on that player not yourself. This will give you the chance to win the pot if the other player does not improve. Even if you haven’t either by following through with a total bluff on the river.
This of course should not be attempted if you suspect the player holds strong hand in a shorthanded pot. In this and other situations where a semi-bluff is not possible or profitable. Because another player has already bet, and the free card play is not an option. It may be better to just fold some draws. Especially if out of position and the pot is small. See the odds section for more details on deciding when to continue with a draw.
A semi-bluff should also not be used heads up against a loose-passive player unless the draw is strong enough or the odds dictate otherwise.
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