third case in which calling against a possible semi-bluff
might be a good play is what I might call the delayed
semi-bluff raise. It's a play I make against very
tough players who frequently semi-bluff and who are
thoroughly familiar with the ordinary semi-bluff raise
as a response to their semi-bluffs.
Here's how it works. In seven-card stud I might have
a queen showing and a queen in the hole, giving me
a pair of queens, and an opponent with a king showing
raises. I suspect this person might be semi-bluffing
with maybe a small pair or even less, but I just call.
On the next card we both catch blanks, and the opponent
comes out firing. What I do now is raise! I raise
with a pair of queens into a possible pair of kings.
It may seem like a strange play, but it adds a confusing
twist to the ordinary semi-bluff raise. When I called
the first bet, my opponent suspected I had queens
though I could have had something like a three-flush.
Now when I raise him on fourth street, my opponent
has to wonder whether I've made queens up. Unless
he really does have two kings, he can't conceivably
call with something like ace, king high. And I want
him to fold even if my pair of queens is the best
hand. I want him to make a mistake according to the
Fundamental Theorem of Poker, because with a couple
of over cards or with, say, a small pair and one over
card, he is getting sufficient odds for a call.
Suppose, though, my opponent really does have kings.
Well, I'm not in the best of shape, but my opponent
most likely won't reraise, fearing I have queens up.
Furthermore, he'll check to me on the next round if
his hand hasn't improved, and I can get myself a free
card. Should this card happen to give me an open pair,
it would be very difficult even for a pair of kings
to call my bet since it looks as if there's a good
chance I've now made a full house.
one might debate the merits of questionable grooming
habits, it's certainly clear that in many ways one
can be more comfortable playing Internet poker than
B&M poker. Leaving the companionship issues aside,
there's a threshold question you should examine before
you decide one of the strong arguments in favor of
Internet poker is that extra comfort.
Is feeling so very comfortable really in your best
interest when playing poker, especially if (as would
seem when playing on the Internet, where the social
aspect is greatly diminished) your goal is to win
A strong case can be made that you don't want to be
quite so comfortable when you play to win. A winning
poker player is focused. He's looking for every clue
he can find, pushing every small edge he can find.