Making the Best of Blocking Bets

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Blocking bets are extremely effective strategies that can be employed in poker. Designed to get you a relatively cheap show down when compared to checking and calling, the blocking bet can be extremely effective when used with less experienced players. You can also benefit from the blocking bet when an opponent uses it and you pick it up. You can make the most of such a situation by denying the opponent a cheap showdown. Do this by using either a bluff-raise or a value-raise. These are strategies you must employ to make money playing poker. Here the two ways by which you can apply the raises against a blocking bet:

Bluff-raise

When you pick a blocking bet and apply the bluff-raise play, the raise will have to be enormous. This will give you the chance to steal the pot from a player who probably has a better hand than you do. However, this is most effective when the hand value of your opponent is not high enough to stand up when faced by a raise. For instance, a player is in a no-limit game (50c) in which the button has the Joker of Hearts and 10 of Spades. He has limped in, after two players have limped to the pot, in the middle position. The small blind raises his bet to a normal size bet and the big blind has checked.

The flop shows Nine of Spades, Queen of Diamonds and Three of Hearts and all the players check to the player, who bets $2. Here only the big blind calls his bet. At the turn, a Four of Clubs appears, the big blind checks, the player bets $4 and the big blind call this. The river shows a Seven of Clubs, yet the big blind bets $1. This could be the big blind’s blocking bet or it could be him calling down the player with a one pair and an average kicker hand. The bet size indicates that the big blind wants a cheap showdown with a weak hand. The player can win the hand only if he opts for a bet.

Value raise

When you spot an opponent making a blocking bet and decide to value raise it, you are exploiting his bet, as this will make the showdown more expensive. In such a situation, it is beneficial to have a straight on the river when the big blind bets. Ensure that at this point your raise is not one that will force the big blind to fold – especially if you assess that he has a weak hand. The bet in this situation should be of value, yet one that the big blind will be likely to call. The only exception to this is when you have the nut hand. If you opt to raise slightly on the river, chances are that you may encourage your opponent to call it. If you are certain that you can encourage him to call a higher value, then you can raise accordingly.

In addition to the bluff- raise and value raise, you can use other variations of it to exploit an opponent’s blocking bet. Also, if you are playing against an experienced player, you can try using bets that appear to be blocking bets, but those that cannot be exploited by the opponent.

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