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Table Games : Bluffing and Semi-Bluffing at Poker

By Joni Hawk

Level: May 14th 2007
Dear Mark,

The announcers for the Sky poker programmes use the terms bluff and semi-bluff. Could you please explain the differences? Are they not really the same, or is a semi-bluff just a bluff but with less money?
Melba H.

A bluff and a semi-bluff are only very distant cousins, Melba, not distinguished by the amount of money at risk. In poker, Melba, there are generally two ways to win a hand. One is for your opponent to fold, conceding the pot; and the other is for your opponent to call your hand and then wince when you prevail in the showdown. A bluff is a bet or raise when you have little chance of winning the pot if called. With a bluff, you have only one way to win: your opponent folds.

A semi-bluff is a bet made when you have more cards to come, and although you might not have the best hand right now, you have some outs if you are called. An "out" is a possibility that cards can turn up on the next round that could turn your hand into a possible winner. For instance, you have two spades in the pocket (your hand) and two on the board. Here, you might semi-bluff hoping to catch another spade on the turn (Fourth Street) or the river (Fifth Street). I've got to ask, Melba: with that lovely name, are you more frequently referred to as Peach or as Toast?
Lesson 1: Poker History
Where did this card game come from? How did it get its name? Find out here.
Lesson 2: Poker Rules
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“You gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold then”… and when to raise!
Lesson 5: Poker Strategy
Learn how to play and point to follow to play smart
Lesson 6: Poker Vocabulary
Impress your buddies on Poker night, with High Roller lingo.

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