What is a semi bluff?

We’ve all played against people that have bluffed got caught and then hit what seemed like an impossible hand. Before you decide to go loopy, make sure you check their play to see if they had any reason to be in the hand.

From time to time, what looks like a ridiculous bad beat may have either been a poor play by you or a semi bluff that hit.

A semi bluff is a bet when you ideally want to take the pot down there and then, but your fall back is that you are called, and you hit. However, playing a semi bluff correctly is not as easy as putting a bet out and hoping for the best. Here are the factors that need to be considered:

  • What happened pre-flop
  • The number of people left in the pot
  • The strength of your draw

If you were the aggressor pre-flop and the board gives you a decent draw, then putting out a strong continuation bet gives you the initiative, this way you can win if your opponent folds, or if they call, and you hit. In any instance on a semi bluff, it is probably a good idea to fold if you are re-raised unless you have the right odds.

If you are in the pot with one person the chances that they have hit the flop are much less than if you are in it with three or four.

If you are up against four players, and you have J-10 hearts and the board comes 3h, Qs, Ks, you have both an up and down straight draw and a running flush draw.

In this situation (if you are the first to act) it may be worth putting out a bet for the following reasons; you could cap the pot, you have equity in the hand, and you could potentially pick up a free card on the turn as if you check on the turn your opponents may see it as a trap.

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