In No Limit Hold 'em: Theory and Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller p106:

But every once in a while you should semi-bluff raise to perhaps $40 or so, and you should do so with 7c2d and not Qh8h.

Why is 7c2d a semi-bluff?

  • 1
    Surely there is more information about the hand in this situation? Board cards? Opponent dynamics? Position? For something to be a semi-bluff it generally means there is still some possibility of making the best hand, which is why I ask what the situation is in more detail. Thanks.
    – Toby Booth
    Apr 7, 2012 at 17:48
  • Ok. I'm reading the section again but having trouble understanding it. This is in a section on raising to steal the blinds, $2-$5, deep stacks, tight table, in the big blind, and 3 players have limped in front of you. Normally you would check with both 7c2d and not Qh8h. But every once in a while you should semi-bluff raise to perhaps $40 or so, and you should do so with 7c2d and not Qh8h.
    – jacknad
    Apr 7, 2012 at 23:02
  • Any way of parsing the information into a hand history style format and editing the question? It's difficult for anyone to be confident in the answers they give if the question is lacking details.
    – Toby Booth
    Apr 7, 2012 at 23:10
  • Not really sure how to add a hand history style format, I have a clue looking at some of the other posts here but don't see anything specific in the poker faq or meta. If by hand history you mean how the table has been playing up till now, the only other thing he says is that it is uncharacteristic that the 3 players limp in front of you. Also, how do you make the card symbols when posting the question.
    – jacknad
    Apr 8, 2012 at 2:39
  • ⋄ ♥ ♠ ♣
    – Toby Booth
    Apr 10, 2012 at 17:23

3 Answers 3


I think that they are using the term "semi-bluff" pretty loosely here. As I read it, I take it to be due to the fact that you still have a fair amount of equity against most of your opponents' calling range.

Often you actually have better equity with junk than with mediocre high-card hands, since 7♣2⋄ will probably not share any cards with your opponents, but they may well hold a Q, making Q♥8♥ a disaster when you hit a Q.

The 7♣2⋄ is a "semi-bluff" because it has a better possibility of being good when it hits post-flop. It still seems like a stretch to me to call it a "semi-bluff" but I believe that's the logic behind the statement.


n.b. I'll likely edit this answer when more detailed info is given in the question. For now I'll keep it short.

From the original question and looking at the comments, it seems that the issue revolves around post-flop equity.

Q♥8♥ has more post-flop equity than 7♣2⋄.

Specifically, given the opponents likely wide ranges and your positional disadvantage, it would seem better to raise with a weaker hand utilizing your fold-equity to win the hand now, and better to call with a stronger hand to utilize greater post-flop pot-equity. The optimal frequencies for these plays is a subjective issue significantly dependant on table dynamics. You comment the table is tight, which is a good start.

  • I think I understand that you are trying to get everyone to fold, but if they don't perhaps you can get lucky and flop trips? Flopping trips seems to be a long shot. What confuses me is why is this a semi-bluff? Where is the real chance for improvement? Isn't this just a plain old bluff?
    – jacknad
    Apr 8, 2012 at 2:43
  • It does look more like a bluff to me too, rather than a semi-bluff. The problem arises when one (or more) of the limpers call you or worse: he re-raises you (maybe he was slow-playing a monster pre-flop). You'll then have to either fold (and lose those $40) or invest even more and go to the flop out of position with a garbage hand. Apr 8, 2012 at 6:34

Qh8h is a pretty good hand, two-handed. For this reason, it should be played in a straight-forward manner.

7-2 offsuit is recognized as a "trash" hand. If the flop doesn't "pair" either of you, it can't beat, say J-5 (a statistically average hand), whereas Qh-8h can. So you bluff with it, and hope that your opponent folds.

Two-handed, it's a semi-bluff, because if your opponent has, say A-K offsuit and doesn't pair (or better) on the board, and you do, you'll win. And if 8-5-2 of mixed suits shows up on the flop, no one would put you on a pair.

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