Texas Holdem Poker : Semi-Bluffing and Defensive Betting

Seems like most people are always talking about pre-flop strategy, so I wanted to talk a little bit about how I play after the flop. Maybe I can help others, or maybe they have advice to improve my play.

I think that two of the most important plays after the flop are the semi-bluff and the defensive bet. That is because these are the plays you make when you havent hit a hand but you have a good drawing hand. Its easy to play a hand when you flop a monster. But I think that these two are the best ways to play a drawing. Each one is played depending on you opponent(s) and your position. So heres how I play it, so tell me what you think.

Early Position – Tight Opponents:

A semi-bluff works fairly well in this position. Come out betting and if a tight player didnt hit a hand hell probably lay down, and if hes unsure you may get a call. But watch out, if that tight player comes back over the top it may be time to get away.

Early Position – Loose Opponents

This is were I like to do a defensive bet. Decide how many chips you are willing to risk on your draw and bet. This is usually a much smaller bet than normal. Its been my experience that the loose player will usually just call a bet rather than re-raise. However, if you check to them, theyre more likely to throw in more chips than your willing to pay.

Late Position – Tight Opponents

This is the best time to do a semi-bluff, especially if most of the table checks. If thats the case youll probably pick up the pot now. If a player before has bet, you have to decide if he has a hand or not. If not, then reraise and hell probably go away since he was trying to steal the pot. If you think he does, well then its time to calculate your odds, and decide if the pot odds are worth the call.

Late Position – Loose Opponents

This one is a bit tricky, because its harder to put a loose player on a hand. And if your in late position against loose player, chances are they have already bet. This is were I usually decide to take a chance and come back over the top of them and hope they dont call, and if they do, well then its time to gamble. Chances are though even a loose player will go away if you come back strong enough.

Remeber though that these are moves I only make after the flop comes and I have a decent drawing hand (usually not a gutshot either). Maybe four to the flush or the open ended straight, for example.

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