Using the semi-bluff at low limits (Limit HE)

J

jeffred1111

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Apr 16, 2007
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We all know that against loose players, we should cut down on our marginal semi-bluffs and pretty much on all of our bluffs (except in small pots and against weaker opponents). We also know that the value of our good hands (or even marginal hands) go up tremendously: in a loose Stud game where the ante is high compared to the future bets (1 in a 2/5). We might call on the end only with QQ22 (with two Qs showing) against an opponent reprensting K on the end, knowing that his hand requirement was lower on the first streets. On the contrary, if the ante was .25 in the same game, nobody would gamble for such a small price and you would know that an opponent wiht no KK showing will have you beat and fold correctly (and with KK, it's even worse for you). Semi-bluffing while drawing to very good hands (or hands that beat villains'range) should thus be encouraged, especially if we have a decent % of holding the best hand, even if our FE isn't as high as in a tight game.

Now, to spark up the discussion, 4 hands. Wich one(s) would you rather semi-bluff (+EV play) assuming same table and same opponents (loosish preflop, blind stealing going on, passive but likely to peel/bet with nothing on flop and maybe turn) ? Notice that nobody is on tilt and that everyone has 20+BB stacks.

#1 3 people limp in MP, SB completes we have Jh9h in the BB

Flop comes Ax5h7h
SB bets, Hero ?

#2 UTG+1 raises MP calls, we hold KQh in the CO and call. Both blinds call.

Flop comes QsTh9s
UTG+1 bets, MP folds, Hero ?

#3 All fold to CO who raises, button calls, we 3-bet with JsTs in the BB. CO folds, button calls.

Flop comes KhQh3c
Hero ?

#4 UTG limps, 3 in MP limp, we hold 8c7c and call on the button. Both blind calls.

Flops comes 769 rainbow
UTG bets, MP1 raises, all fold, Hero ?
 
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J

jeffred1111

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#1 3 people limp in MP, SB completes we have Jh9h in the BB

Flop comes Ax5h7h
SB bets, Hero ?

This is the usual spot to semi-bluff since we want to get money in the pot and drive out some other players. I raise this a lot more than I call since it might get us a free card on the next round if it is checked to us or if we check. I might fold if I know that MP players would limp a suited Ace and I'm likely to get reraised. 60%raise/15%call/25%fold. Plus, if we pair, we are in nicesih shape if we haven't gotten 3-bet on flop (SB has no Ace).

I'd even be more comfortable doing this if there was only one MP limper.

#2 UTG+1 raises MP calls, we hold KQh in the CO and call. Both blinds call.

Flop comes QsTh9s
UTG+1 bets, MP folds, Hero ?

Here we have the backdoor second nut-flush, top pair nice kicker and a gutshot. With all of our outs, we can only raise with the blinds to go. We aren't likely to get repoped by them and I call a 3-bet. We must thin the field at this point since we don't want flush draws or lower straights to outdraw us while we want to build a pot. This is not really a semi-bluff since we figure to have the best hand a huge number of times, but we still have a drawing hand wich might profit if we take a cheap (ie. one bet) card on the turn (and maybe induce a bluff on river).

#3 All fold to CO who raises, button calls, we 3-bet with JsTs in the BB. CO folds, button calls.

Flop comes KhQh3c
Hero ?

Preflop tomfoolery aside, we aren't in hot shape right now. We are almost never getting a free card from someone who cold called two times preflop. I'd check/call and reevaluate on turn a lot of the times since we are facing possible flush draws and do not have even one pair (and no FE).

#4 UTG limps, 3 in MP limp, we hold 8c7c and call on the button. Both blind calls.

Flops comes 769 rainbow
UTG bets, MP1 raises, all fold, Hero ?

This raise is pretty much always two pairs, trips or like us, a strong draw or someone getting frisky with two face cards (altough unlikely). Since we are only holding the dummy end of the draw and a second pair no kicker, I rarely reraise to shut out the blinds and maybe get this HU, but I only call if I know I can get at least one overcall to pad out the pot for future streets. Raise 30%, call50%, fold 20%. We need people in the pot here, and the original raise might thin the field for us, boosting our equity.
 
B

bw07507

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Jan 8, 2007
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2,219
I play exclusively NL, so I might be completely off base here.

#1 3 people limp in MP, SB completes we have Jh9h in the BB

Flop comes Ax5h7h
SB bets, Hero ?

This is the usual spot to semi-bluff since we want to get money in the pot and drive out some other players. I raise this a lot more than I call since it might get us a free card on the next round if it is checked to us or if we check. I might fold if I know that MP players would limp a suited Ace and I'm likely to get reraised. 60%raise/15%call/25%fold. Plus, if we pair, we are in nicesih shape if we haven't gotten 3-bet on flop (SB has no Ace).

I'd even be more comfortable doing this if there was only one MP limper.

Wouldnt flat calling be better here to try to get the players to act behind us to also call?? We want their money in the pot as well so that if we do hit our flush there will be more money in the pot. If we raise we probably scare both of them out.

I agree with scenarios 2 and 3. Number 4 is really interesting, im not sure what I would do there.

btw, post 500 :) :) :)
 
J

jeffred1111

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The reason I won't flat call here is because we are not likely to get a free card on the turn if we miss (and have only called flop) and we are likelier to have bigger runner-runner going with us if we do hit (someone with the K and a small pair for example). By raising, we push out other hands, increasing our equity and maybe buying the button (if everybody folds and SB calls, we are in buisiness).

We can also buy the pot right there if nobody has an Ace and they figure their overcards or baby pair are not clean outs (I would fold 33 in MP with SB betting and BB raising).

I would maybe go passive and just call if I had the Asxs. But right now, we need to increase our % of chance of winning the hand or to find a fold by not bloating the pot with people still to act.

So, cons:
1) Pushing people out of the pot (smaller pot)
2) Chance of getting reraised

Pros:
1) Chance of getting freecard on turn
2) Chance of buying button
3) Disguised hand if we do hit
4) Increased equity (we might pair the J or 9 and win against SB 5 or 7) while we might lose to someone holding JT if we didn't raised)
5) Chance of picking up pot right here (slim but still present)
 
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