You must have read a lot about bluffing in poker. Many poker nuts will base their betting strategy on knocking people off pots and will therefore focus a great deal on bluffing. But semi-bluffing may not be known to many people.
So what exactly is a poker semi-bluff?
Well, the simple definition is whenever you bet with a hand that has a good possibility of becoming the best hand by the river, you are semi-bluffing. You are bluffing because you currently have no hand when you bet. However, you have good “outs” to end up with the best hand by the time the last card is dealt. And that’s why this method is called a semi-bluff, not a pure bluff. You are betting with “something”, not simply with air.
The profit you earn from playing semi-bluffing poker comes from having two ways in which you can win the pot:
1. If your opponent folds to your bluff bet, then your bluff will work and you get paid off.
2. While if you actually make your draw you win by having the best hand.
This makes it really hard to counter semi-bluff poker plays because it is difficult to determine when your opponent actually has a hand, when he is pure bluffing and when he is chasing a monster draw. If a player varies his play correctly, he can keep his opponents guessing.
Although many new players understand what a semi-bluff is, they rarely use it in a proper way. Many beginners make the costly mistake of betting when they should be checking, and checking when they should be betting. Before you fire off a semi-bluff bet, look at the board and try to gauge its texture i.e. try to get the feel of the game. Remember, a bluff of any type has to tell a believable story otherwise you are going to get caught with your hand in the honey jar.