Let’s say that you make a raise during the pre –flop, your hand is an Ace of hearts and a King of hearts, and you are called by two of your opponents. The flop is a Jack of hearts, 9 of spades and 5 of hearts; you have only a flush draw and over card. The first player plays check, the second one places a bet equal to ¾ of the pot.
In situation like this a semi bluff will be if your raise, because technically, you have nothing and any pair of your opponent, no matter how low it is, can beat you. Nevertheless, if you have a flush draw and the best over cards that means you have many opportunities to win the pot at the showdown. Your hand has a certain value which makes your raise just a semi bluff. Ideally, your opponent will fold and you’ll win the entire pot. But in case he calls, you still have a chance to get nuts on the turn.
Semi bluffs are an important part of poker game but never forget that if you use semi bluff every time you have a great draw, you’ll be too easy to read, so don’t be so obvious. Besides, it s never a good idea to be easy, isn’t it?
The majority of bluffs in Texas Hold’em are the fast bluffs. These are small bets (known also as “small ball” style of playing) which are placed in order to win a small or medium sized pot with a high expected probability of success. The risk is minimal but the profit is also not big.
For example: You are the dealer, playing the flop and three players before you check. The flop is a King of spades, a King of hearts and a 7 of diamonds. No one raised during the pre –flop and it seems that no one is interested in this pot.
In fact, there are only two options in this situation:
1. Someone has a King, and this player uses a slow play.
2. No one has a King and all players are ready to fold.
This scenario is straightforward. Most likely, no one has a King, and your opponents are ready to fold. Also, the pot size is too small to risk with a brave call. This bet is to be placed in order to end the round, regardless of your hand.
As a matter of fact, there are very few pure bluffs in poker. Thanks to Hollywood dramatic interpretations of the game, many people think that poker players use bluffs at every given opportunity. But in a real game it does not happen often. Bluffs are used very rarely. Another myth is that very often a royal flush beats a straight flush. Generally it is true, royal flushes are really the highest possible hands in Texas Hold’em but this also does not happen very often. Actually it happens very, very rarely.
There are three main types of bluff. They are:
- Fast bluffs
- Semi bluffs
- Pure bluffs
We’ll speak about them in the next lessons.
Even the best poker players have their bad gaming sessions from time to time. As they say, it happens to the best. Therefore, to expect that you always are going to win is a huge mistake and pretty naive. Your goal should be to show the best of your capabilities in each gaming session, in each hand. If you do this, improving your habits and skills, the good hands as well as the victory will find their way to you.
Many players make the mistake to evaluate their skills based on the results of each gaming session. Your goal should be to use the maximum capacity in every game and every time. And the closer you come to this, the better the results will be.
The first thing you need to be certain about is: why you want to play poker – in order to win or just for fun. But remember, it will take a lot of time and effort to learn how to win. In other words, you need to work hard. There is nothing wrong with playing poker for fun but even in this case there is no reason to lose. Once you decide why you want to play poker, when you sit at the table, you’ll play and make your decisions much easier.