Bluffs, protezione della mano e bilanciamento del gioco

Playing a No Limit Hold’em cash game is quite simple. You have previously learned that you need to bet and raise with the best hands and throw away the weaker ones. The article on how to play preflop and the evaluation of your hand has demonstrated the correctness of this concept with several examples. However, it is sometimes necessary to adopt a different approach than the traditional one described above. The best players have the ability to understand the tendencies of the opponents and adapt their game accordingly. They are able to tell when the opponent has a good hand, and if for example they get a raise on the turn, they won’t hesitate to fold a poor hand.
To make reading your hands more difficult, you will need to vary your game from time to time. In addition, if your opponent understands that when you raise you always have a good hand, you should use this to your advantage by starting bluffing. If, on the other hand, you are playing aggressively and have shown some bluffs, your opponents will start to widen the range of hands with which to call your bets.

This article shows you the situations suitable for a bluff or semi-bluff, introduces the concept of the balance of your game (which will allow you to be more difficult to “read” for your opponents) and shows you how to protect your hand in circumstances. different.

Semi-bluffing in a No Limit Hold’em cash game

Let’s start with the Semi-bluff. Raising with a draw is very important and every No Limit Hold’em player should know how to use this weapon well. If you are used to seeing opponents’ bets every time you have a draw or not too strong hand, you will become easy to read. You have to vary your way of playing by avoiding playing the same way in the same situations. If you are the one to attack when you have a draw by betting and raising, you will put pressure on your opponents and you can reap several benefits:

  • You will be able to win the pot without actually hitting the draw
  • You will be able to win a bigger pot if you get called and close your draw
  • Masking your hand will make it harder to read

Unfortunately, semi-bluffing has its downside. Mostly, you increase the variance if you play bigger pots regularly.

  1. You have A♠ 9♠ in late position. You decide to call after a couple of other players have already entered the pot without raising. The flop turns out to be K♠ Q♦ 2♠. The big blind bets and two players call. You are not in the best position for a semi-bluff as you are playing against several opponents, but you have good odds to call.
  2.  You have A♠ 10♠ in late position and call after a player has limped. The Small Blind folds while the Big Blind opts for a check. On the flop you have a flush draw and a gutshot straigth draw. The Under The Gun player bets, and since you only have 2 opponents against, and you have a very strong draw, you are in a good position to semi-bluff. You then raise to $ 1.

In general, semi-bluffing works best when you have many outs and few opponents! Don’t use it easily with weak draws and lots of opponents.

Balance the stakes

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, you will be too easy to read if you decide to adopt a strategy that sees you play draws as if you had a draw and monster hands as if you had a monster hand every time. This is even more true if you have opponents waiting and preparing at the table.

Usually the strength of the hand you have determines whether you want to play a large or small pot. But the consistency of the board and the number of opponents involved in the hand play an equally important role. You need to take these parameters into account when deciding to play a hand.

In the article on how to play pre-flop we talked about the basic strategy that is right to apply approximately 9 times out of 10. However, there are situations that require a different approach than the traditional one, such as trying to raise with a hand that is not too much. strong or just call with a very strong one. All of this makes your game more difficult to interpret and masks the actual strength of the hand you have.

You don’t have to play like this every time you get the chance. It’s actually the opposite: you have to play traditionally most of the time. Finding the right moment for bluffing, slowplaying and semi-bluffing is definitely not easy and requires experience. But being able to make these plays at the right time not only brings you profit, but also fun.

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