Difficulty Defending Against
illustrate the difficulty of defending against the
semi-bluff, we'll take a seven-card stud hand from
our discussion of semi-bluffing in the preceding topic
and reverse roles:
you bet on fourth street, and your opponent raises.
Knowing your opponent is fully capable of semi-bluffing
in this spot with something like a pair of 7s in the
hole, you still should probably not call with a pair
of 9s. He may in fact have a pair of queens or jacks.
Or he may be semi-bluffing with a four-flush. The
problem is that your pair of 9s is no favorite over
a four-flush with a jack and a queen. Thus, if your
opponent has a pair of jacks, a pair of queens, or
two pair, you may lose because he already has you
beat; and if he has a four-flush, you may lose because
he outdraws you (which with his over cards as well,
he's a favorite to do). Even if your opponent has
nothing better than a gut-shot straight draw, your
two 9s with a king kicker are not a hand to be excited
about. Consequently, even though you suspect this
opponent is semi-bluffing, it doesn't do you much
good to call with a poor hand because you have two
ways of losing: You may lose to a legitimate hand
or by being outdrawn.
Suppose you grit your teeth, close your eyes, and
call your opponent's bet. on the table and deals the
What in the world do you do now? That nine of spades
your opponent caught is a very scary-looking card.
It might have made your opponent a flush. It might
have made him a straight. If it didn't help him at
all, well, then he was probably betting on fourth
street with jacks or queens so that now he has a big
pair and at least a three-flush -- maybe a four-flush.
All you can do is check, and when your opponent bets,
as he surely will, you will probably throw away your
hand, perhaps cursing the online poker games gods
for delivering the 9 to your opponent and not to you.
So here is a third way a semi-bluffer can beat you
- namely, by catching scare cards that force you to
(If you don't remember the exact hand from the previous
topic, all your opponent has in the hole, it turns
out, is 7,1!7+. Knowing that, it would of course be
incorrect to fold at this point with two 9s and an
ace, king kicker. Your opponent's semi-bluff on fourth
street, followed by his semi-bluff on fifth street,
caused you to make a mistake, according to the Fundamental
Theorem of online poker games, in contrast to what
you would have done if you could see your opponent's
hand. Your opponent gained, and you lost. However,
not knowing what your opponent had, you did make the
only sensible play.)
|AII the Comforts
hard to hold a discussion about the relative merits
of Internet poker and casino poker without someone
raising the comfort issue.
"I can eat what I want when I want," the
Internet advocate begins. " I can do other computer
work when I'm not in a game. I don't have to tip the
dealer, and I don't have to listen to other players
yap-I can even turn of the chat feature if I want.
I'm king of my castle."