What happens when you have a good poker hand after the flop, but one that isn’t necessarily made yet? This hand could ether be very lucrative for you or it could take you down a few notches. Let’s look at an infamous example.
Imagine the flop comes King / King / Queen, two of which are diamonds and you are holding the Jack of diamonds and the ten of spades. You’re first to act, which is always a tough position. You really have no clue what your opponent is holding.
He could be holding the King or he could be holding the queen. In a situation like this you would actually PREFER that he be holding the king if you had to pick from the two for the reasons that will shortly be named.
The move that you SHOULD make is commonly known as “semi-bluffing.” This means that you are bluffing but you actually could make a hand that is a winning hand. So let’s get back to where we were. You are unsure on what to do now… Well right now is the perfect time to pull this semi-bluff move. Your instincts are telling you that he really doesn’t have a king or a queen, although it is still very possible. You need to make a strong bet.
Don’t make a bet that is too high because if he has an ace or a queen he may think you are over-betting and he will call you (although he is likely to call with a queen more often than not anyways) and don’t bet too low or else you will make it worth it for him to call.
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Let’s look at your odds on this particular hand. You have about a 25% chance to catch your straight by the river. Add that with the fact that your opponent may fold, and that it is very possible that he has nothing at all, then you should definitely bluff to represent trip kings or a pair of queens in thissituaiton.
Let’s pretend the turn come the 6 of diamonds. You didn’t make you’re straight but now you have added many more outs to your hand. Depending on how much your opponent called down on the flop, you should now be thinking about a second opportunity at semi-bluffing. If your opponent did call with a pair of queens or an Ace high, and you now make you second semi-bluff, he should definitely be worried about his hand. If he has an Ace / King then he is drooling at the fact that he is trapping you into his trips (trapping with trips is very dangerous by the way). If you don’t put your opponent on having ACE / KING then that means you have slightly less that 24% that the next card will complete your flush and about a 13% chance that you will hit your straight.
You should definitely consider making another semi-bluff at this pot, you cannot show any weakness now, and you’re in it. These outs aren’t terrible, and they are the exact type of outs you need to qualify for semi-bluffing. Besides you have been representing Kings and or Queens the whole time and that will definitely start to wear and tear on your opponents mind.
The main part of semi-bluffing is betting just enough to where you are making it not worth it for your opponent to call you down but at the same time you cannot let your opponent think you are trying to do this or over-bet the pot, because if he or she does have this thought in mind then he is going to call you down because if he has a made hand, then more than likely his odds are better.
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