More Poker Related Stuff: Texas Holdem Omaha Poker Poker Rooms Poker Tournaments

Poker School

Semi Bluff

Hand Analysis: Running the Semi-Bluff
By Loki Luchs of

In a recent game, I was belittled by a fellow player when I broke his stack with an outdrawn river. I had fired four rounds at him and he had check-called every round, except on the river, where he pushed all in. The hand had unfolded with my pot-sized raise to five limpers from the cut off with a Q/10 of diamonds. Two players, the BB and UTG, called. The flop had brought a J 3 9, one diamond. Both players checked and I fired a 2/3-pot bet out. BB called, UTG folded. The turn was a 5 of diamonds, giving me the flush draw too. BB checked and I raised another 1/2 pot bet. BB called. The river was an offsuit 8, giving me the nuts. I bet 1/2 the pot and he instantly raised me all in. His set of nines were obviously no longer good.

While he may criticize me for my play, I can defend every bet of this hand. Pre-flop I was in late position with suited one-gappers. I often raise in position with this hand (especially at rock tight tables) because I will either steal the limps or I will build a pot that can be hard for others to get away from. With two callers out of position, I am in a dominant position in the hand.

On the flop, I picked up an up and down straight draw with an over-card. If either player hit the top pair they will only be slightly over even money to win the hand. If they flopped a set or two pair, theyíre only a 2:1 favorite. With two checks, I sensed weakness or a trap and had to bet to find out where I was at. The BB stayed with me, but UTG left. BB obviously has something, so I should slow down if I donít improve.

Normally I would have checked behind with my draw on the turn, but the turn card gave me more outs with the flush draw, so I continued the betting. If he only has the top pair with a weak kicker, heíll want to bow out now. I only bet half the pot to keep him from pushing all in on me, so I could escape the river without further damage. If I hit the river, however, itís unlikely heíll be able to escape.

My plan at this point was if I hit the straight or flush, I would bet out. If I hit the queen, I would check it down for some showdown equity. The straight on the river put me in excellent position to take his stack. He has just a little more than the size of the pot left in his stack. Some might recommend putting him all in here, but I opted to bet half the size of the stack. If I bet the full amount, I felt he might simply lay down A/J or a small two pair. If I only bet half the pot (i.e. half his stack) he would feel obligated to call. Furthermore, most players hate to be left short stacked at a table, so if he can convince himself that heís got the best hand, heíll probably push the rest of it in on his own.

Running the semi-bluff is an extremely powerful weapon in poker. It keeps your opponents off-guard and helps with your image in future hands. After that hand, my opponents who didnít realize my handís potential, didnít respect my play down the line and gave me far more action than they normally would. A few semi-bluffs paying off can due as much for your advertising as much as a normal bluff!


Check out all the guaranteed tournaments, SnG's, satellites and qualifiers Bovada Poker has to offer! They are truly a one stop shop for everything you could possibly need in an online poker room!

Party Poker - The PartyPoker "Monthly Milion" plays on the 1st Sunday of every month. The tourney starts at 12:45EST. (Note: Party does not accept USA players)


Bovada Poker - Sign up, deposit and get an instant 10% bonus. Get a 100% bonus up to $500 which is released as you earn points. If done right, this could equate to a 110% bonus!

Featured Articles

The Difference Between Limit and No Limit Texas Hold'em - Cash games, tournaments, no limit, pot limit, fixed limit and more. Loki breaks it down!!

Tilt - It's a classless way to play online poker, but this article is a good read if you'd like to learn how to put other players "on tilt."

Satellite Poker Tournaments - What are they? How do they work? Jason explains.


Famous Poker Players - Short bios about some of the greatest poker players ever to take a seat at the tables!

Female Poker Players - Biographies of all the best women poker players in the world.

Legends of the Game - Bio pages of legendary poker players, many of which have died and gone on to leave their mark on the poker world.

Poker Hall of Fame - Inductees along with their feats listed in chronological order.

Poker Players Alliance - This advocacy group is fighting for YOUR right to legally play online poker. Join today!

Home Poker Games - Everything you need to know about hosting your own game.

What is Rake? - This is how card rooms earn their money off of poker games. K. Swope talks about this fee in detail.

Perspectives Weekly - Check's Jay Todd each week as he brings us all the current news in the online gambling industry.

Poker Quotes - Famous and funny poker sayings from around the internet.

Famous Poker Hands - Sure, you know that "AA" is often times dubbed "bullets" or "american airlines" but what about other hands such as "JJ" and "88"? Chad tells all!

Poker Questions - Burn cards, clubs, spaces, diamonds, hearts, the deck, community cards etc. You've got a question? We've got an answer!