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To Semi-bluff Or Not To Semi-bluff?


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#1 VirusData

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 06:10 PM

A question that plagues us all from time to time. Let's have a quick breakdown and hear your opinions/strategies for semi-bluffing.The semi-bluff can lossely be described as betting a hand where you may (or may not) have the best hand currently, but have a significant chance to have the best hand at showdown. You're not neccesarily looking for a call, but you can stand one.(i.e. flush draw, open end straight draw, etc) Here are but a few small things to consider before deciding to semi-bluff(or not) 1. How many people are seeing the flop/turn/river? The more players in the hand, the less effective your semi-bluff will be. I like to keep semi-bluffs to almost exclusively heads up play in a pot. 2. What is your position? As with almost any play in Hold' Em, the semi-bluff is usually more effective when you are acting in position. 3. How good is your draw? Before deciding to semi-bluff, you must consider if and when you make your hand, will it be good or hold value? 4. Table image Does your potential villain see you as an aggresive bettor, making them more likely to call/raise your semi-bluff? If so you may be better served taking the free card if possible. Is your potential villain a "calling station"? If you are acting in position against a player that consistently checks and calls many bets with either strong or not strong hands, again, you may be better served taking the free card if available.5. How far are you willing to take a semi-bluff? I don't think there's a worse feeling in poker than making a high percentage semi-bluff, missing and having to make what is now probably a stone cold bluff on the river(or turn). I believe this is where No. 4 is most important. Before you semi-bluff, ask yourself, "if I get called and miss, am I willing to take it all the way"? If you're not willing to make a significant river bluff(possibly all-in), then the semi-bluff may not be your optimal play on the flop. These are just a few small things I could think of off the top of my head. Of course there are always anecdotel responses to specific situations, but I believe these factors are good generalizations for things to consider before deciding: To semi bluff or not to semi-bluff?What say you?

#2 SuperJon

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 06:59 PM

Semi bluffing is for the pussies that are too afraid to bluff for real.Who cares how many outs you have when you just want them to fold.

#3 KingJames

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 07:31 PM

View PostSuperJon, on Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 8:59 PM, said:

Semi bluffing is for the pussies that are too afraid to bluff for real.Who cares how many outs you have when you just want them to fold.
I would call you a troll, except I've reviewed videos of your play :club:
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#4 VirusData

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 07:35 PM

View PostKingJames, on Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 11:31 PM, said:

I would call you a troll, except I've reviewed videos of your play :club:
Thank You KingJames, all I am trying to do is to start a good thread and discussion on this topic with others because it can get into the differant styles players have as well as I like to here from others.

#5 KingJames

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 07:38 PM

View PostVirusData, on Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 9:35 PM, said:

Thank You KingJames, all I am trying to do is to start a good thread and discussion on this topic with others because it can get into the differant styles players have as well as I like to here from others.
Yeah, I think you made a very solid post.Position, strength of draw, villains range and image are very important to consider when playing a draw or semi-bluffing hand in nlDo you play cash-games or tournaments mostly?
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#6 VirusData

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 07:44 PM

View PostKingJames, on Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 11:38 PM, said:

Yeah, I think you made a very solid post.Position, strength of draw, villains range and image are very important to consider when playing a draw or semi-bluffing hand in nlDo you play cash-games or tournaments mostly?
Yes KingJames I did but I am trying to mix things up a bit with both now.

#7 vincere.lusi

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 07:56 AM

With a semi-bluff you are not just trying to get them to fold you are calculating that you are Plus EV whichever way they go.When you are semi-bluffing you are looking at two things.1. Chance they will fold and you will win the Current Pot2. Chance they call and you win the larger pot The nice part is that If they will only play top hands then they fold more often, so you pick up the current pot more offten If they play a wider range of hands then you have a better chance when they do call.
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#8 VirusData

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 09:09 AM

View Postvincere.lusi, on Friday, April 15th, 2011, 11:56 AM, said:

With a semi-bluff you are not just trying to get them to fold you are calculating that you are Plus EV whichever way they go.When you are semi-bluffing you are looking at two things.1. Chance they will fold and you will win the Current Pot2. Chance they call and you win the larger pot The nice part is that If they will only play top hands then they fold more often, so you pick up the current pot more offten If they play a wider range of hands then you have a better chance when they do call.
vincer.lusi, Would it be better to try to look at a semi bluff in two stages like my below examples?The Bluff: The first bet made in a semi-bluff is exactly that, a bluff. As with all bluffs a bet has to be made that could win the hand right now. After all that is the point of a bluff. If you do get called then an approprate sized bluff has done two things. Your hand is better disguised and you have started to build a pot for when you make a hand. It is important to remember that in poker the goal of a made hand is to extract as much value as possible. The bet at this stage is setting that up.The Catch: When you do make your hand I think it is vitally important that your bets now need to make it seem as if the new card changed little to nothing about your hand. The appropriately size bet on the flop hopefully gives the message the the flop is exactly what you needed for your holdings. You are hoping that any callers on the flop did so situationally and that the new card has imporoved their hand to one that could now beat hands that would have bet the flop strong. That is why semi-bluffing a flush draw on a board that has straight potential is effective. You are looking for two made hands and that yours is the strongest.

#9 Pot Odds RAC

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 10:12 AM

View PostVirusData, on Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 11:35 PM, said:

Thank You KingJames, all I am trying to do is to start a good thread and discussion on this topic with others because it can get into the differant styles players have as well as I like to here from others.
You might get better results and responses if you posted this in a differant Sub Forum for Strategy.

#10 VirusData

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 10:17 AM

View PostPot Odds RAC, on Friday, April 15th, 2011, 2:12 PM, said:

You might get better results and responses if you posted this in a differant Sub Forum for Strategy.
Pot Odds RAC, Thank You, but I guess it's to late for that now LOLOL.

#11 Pot Odds RAC

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 10:41 AM

View PostVirusData, on Friday, April 15th, 2011, 2:17 PM, said:

Pot Odds RAC, Thank You, but I guess it's to late for that now LOLOL.
Maybe not.

#12 BaseJester

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 01:26 PM

View PostVirusData, on Thursday, April 14th, 2011, 10:10 PM, said:

2. What is your position? As with almost any play in Hold' Em, the semi-bluff is usually more effective when you are acting in position.
When deciding between semi-bluffing and calling, I think good position is generally a reason to call. When you're deep, the implied odds are greater.
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#13 rrumsey

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 06:00 PM

post a hand that illustrates what you are thinking i think its a better jumping off point bc we can change things around based off that
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#14 Gobler_Poker

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:17 AM

View PostSuperJon, on 14 April 2011 - 06:59 PM, said:

Semi bluffing is for the pussies that are too afraid to bluff for real.Who cares how many outs you have when you just want them to fold.

This gets the stupidest answer award.

#15 wakiki

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 01:15 PM

Don't forget, in addition to the factors that you mentioned, the strength of your drawing hand matters. Are you drawing to the nut flush and the board is unpaired? or are you drawing for a straight when there are three diamonds out? I would be (or at least, should be) more likely to semi-bluff when I'm drawing to an ace high flush than a 10 high flush.

So yeah, it's probably better to semi-bluff if you are drawing to the nuts than if you aren't, cause you can hit and lose alot of money. But of course, you want to mix things up by checking with your nut draw and betting with smaller draws so people can't read you as well.

No one pays attention to me where I play though, so I'll just keep it straightforward.

Any other factors that we've missed?
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