The semi-bluff in poker online is probably the most frequently used type of bluff there is. Unlike floating and probe bets – which are pure bluffs and thus provide only one way for the aggressor to win the pot (namely, if he succeeds in making his opponent fold), the semi-bluff offers two ways to victory. A semi-bluff is essentially a bluff with outs to make a solid hand.
The semi-bluffer can take the pot down when his/her opponent folds. Or if he gets called and makes his/her hand, he/she will be able to take it down at showdown. A classic example of an online poker India semi-bluff is the four-card flush on the flop situation. Given the odds, it often makes sense for players to launch a semi-bluff on their flush draw following the flop. They bet into their opponent hoping to make them fold or even to make the call. If the opponent calls and our player hit his flush on the turn, he’ll walk away with a bigger pot. If his opponent yields to the pressure, he’ll take down a smaller pot but at least he won’t have to root for his hand to fill up.
This flush draw best online poker semi-bluff has become so commonplace though, that most good players will recognize it a mile away, and make the semi-bluffer’s life more complicated. Another situation that calls for frequent semi-bluffing is the open-ended straight draw on the flop. This too is relatively easily readable though.
What makes or breaks a semi-bluff?
When should you fire out a semi-bluff and what should you do to maximize your chances for success? As with the majority of things in Hold’em, semi-bluffing is best done from late position. If you act after your opponent does, you’ll gain precious information and you’ll secure another advantage as well: if your opponent checks to you, you bet and he calls, he’ll be tempted to check again on the turn. This move offers you the option to check after him on the turn thus earning a free card and another chance to hit your hand for the cost of a single semi-bluff. Don’t underestimate the importance of this advantage: you’ll see that in practice it makes a world of difference.
If you are out of position and attempt a semi-bluff, you’ll be forced to act blindly. You’ll just make your bet and hope that your opponent folds, without having any sort of information on his hand. If you get your semi-bluff called, you’ll be neck-deep in trouble, faced with the decision to fire yet another bluff your opponent’s way (who may indeed have the goods) or to give it all up and write your first semi-bluff off as wasted money.
Keep an eye on a large stack
Another thing you should keep an eye on is to have a large stack behind your semi-bluff. If your semi-bluff means that you’re going all-in, the situation is far from optimal because your opponents tend to be a lot less intimidated by an all-in move than by one behind which there’s significant back-up. Often, it’s not the semi-bluff itself that scares your opponents into folding, it’s the prospect of having to face the rest of your stack down the line.
The key behind the profitability of the semi-bluff is in its frequency. Don’t abuse it and find situations in which it’s more efficient than in the two examples I’ve given above. A gutshot straight draw is a nice hand to semi-bluff from the position for instance. Given that it’s more difficult for your opponent to actually put you on a hand.