The semi-bluff can be an especially effective postflop tool to employ in no-limit hold’em.
Like regular bluffs, the semi-bluff is essentially betting or raising in a spot when a fold is a desired response. Your hand generally rates to be weaker than that of your opponent(s), and so you have hopefully found a good set of circumstances in which your betting can encourage your opponent to step aside, allowing you to collect a pot without a showdown.
However with the semi-bluff there is also a backup plan, so to speak. You may be behind at the time of the bluff, but if called you still stand a chance to draw to something better. And if you do hit your draw, you’ve not only begun to built a pot beforehand, but the strength of your holding may in fact be disguised as your opponent saw you betting before the possible straight or flush had materialized.
At the recently completed European Poker Tour Barcelona stop, poker pro Scott Baumstein shared some thoughts with us about semi-bluffing with drawing hands.
The New Yorker has over $1.4 million in tournament earnings, and is currently ranked inside the top 300 of the Global Poker Index. Listen to what Baumstein says about how the semi-bluff is an important part of his arsenal — how in fact practically all of the bluffs he tends to make in tournaments can be described as semi-bluffs in which he indeed has outs or other options should the bets be called.
Take a look: