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Remember what was said toward the end of this topic about betting when you are afraid you do not have the best hand. The more ways you have of improving to become the best hand, the more reason you have to bet. The semi-bluff is an extension of this concept. From another point of view, it is an extension of theories of bluffing, which are discussed in pages Eighteen and Nineteen. We define the semi-bluff this way: A semi-bluff is a bet with a hand which, if called, does not figure to be the best hand at the moment but has a reasonable chance of outdrawing those hands that initially called it.

Obviously, then, a semi-bluff cannot occur unless there are more cards to come. When you bet as a semi-bluff, you are rooting to win right there just as you are when you make a pure bluff. However, in contrast to a pure bluff, you still retain a chance of outdrawing your opponent if you are called. Even when you bet with a legitimate hand, you are generally rooting to win instantly, but when you semi-bluff, you especially want your opponents to fold because one of them may be folding the best hand.

The semi-bluff is one of the least understood tools of poker, yet it is a very valuable and potent weapon. All professional players use it, and it may be used in any games. It may be a bet, a raise, or even a check-raise. Essentially you are representing a bigger hand than you actually have; however, in contrast to a pure bluff, your hand must have some chances of improving to the best hand.