Not to Semi Bluff
we have seen, a semi-bluff can be profitable because
it sometimes works as a bluff (when your opponent
folds the best hand) and sometimes lets you improve
to the best hand (when your opponent calls). It is
the combination of these circumstances that makes
the semi-bluff profitable. Therefore, it is important
to realize that you usually don't semi-bluff if you
are sure you are going to be called. Why? Because
then the bluff aspect of your bet has vanished, you
are betting only for value, and it is clearly incorrect
to put more money in the pot on a hand you know to
be the underdog. The only exception to this principle
may occur in seven-card stud and razz, as we saw earlier,
when your semi-bluff confuses your opponent on later
rounds as he watches your board develop into what
looks like the best hand.
It is also a good idea to semi-bluff less often when
you are last to act, especially if many players have
checked ahead of you. Not only do you have the opportunity
to give yourself a free card in last position, but
it's possible that somebody ahead of you was sandbagging
with a big hand and will check-raise when you bet.
In contrast, when you are in first position, you would
be more inclined to bet with a semi-bluffing hand.
Since you can't assure yourself of a free card in
first position, you might as well become the aggressor
and bet when the situation warrants it.
The Second Betting Round
want to improve on fourth street if you're going to
continue the hand. Ideally, you want to catch a low
card that doesn't pair you and that continues either
a flush draw or straight draw. Of course, you usually
won't hit the ideal. But when you do, get aggressive.
Strong two-way draws are very strong hands in hi/lo
split poker. This is especially true in seven-card
stud if you have a threatening board in addition to
Sometimes any improvement, even marginal improvement,
is enough to continue, and sometimes you want to look
for a strong improvement. How you should play your
hand on fourth street depends mostly on the size of
the pot-on whether it was raised or not on third street.
If the pot has been raised, it's usually big enough
to justify chasing some. I tend to let the other players
have the little pots, while I go after the big pots
aggressively. With a large pot, just a little bit
of an improvement is enough to take off another card.