Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Difference Between a Bluff and Semi-Bluff

Poker tactics remain surprisingly similar from venue to venue, and even country to country. The European WSOP tour has similar moves and stabs for the pot as the US WSOP. Similarly, whether playing at a virtual table at Caesars online or at your neighbor's place, you will want to engage the same tactics to go for the win. One of these tactics is semi-bluffing. However, the semi-bluff is sometimes misunderstood. Here is a basic summary of the difference between the semi-bluff and the bluff.

Bluffing is the term used for acting as though you have a strong hand when you do not have a strong hand. For example, if you are holding a jack and a ten of clubs, and the cards three of diamonds, six of spades, and queen of diamonds come onto the table, raising would be a bluff. You don't have any likely chance at a hand, and you certainly want the other players to fold so you can take their chips (and avoid losing your recent raise).

However, let's take that same board--three of diamonds, six of spades, and queen of diamonds--and say that the two cards in your hand are the jack and ten of diamonds. You now have a flush draw that isn't entirely unlikely (more or less, 38 percent odds). However, you still don't have the hand. By making a bet, you are acting as though you already have a strong hand (such as a pair of queens). However, this is a safer bet. If your opponent calls, you still have 40 percent odds to capture the entire pot by achieving your flush by the final card. Semi-bluffing is very useful since it often buys the pot, and when it doesn't, it gives you a chance at an even larger pot, even if the odds aren't completely in your favor.

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