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The Blocking Bet

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Haciendo una apuesta de bloqueo

The `blocking bet' is an advanced move in No Limit Poker Hold'em which is made when you are out of position and you want to see a showdown or a river card without risking much money. If you learn how to use it properly, you can void your rival to make such a big bet that you can't call in a profitable way.

If this move is used wrongly or in the wrong circumstances, you'll just waste your money with the blocking bet. In this article you'll learn how and when to use the blocking bet in order to increase your winnings in poker boards.

What is the blocking bet?

When we talk about a blocking bet we mean when you make a bet that is smaller than average with the aim to reduce the amount of money you have to pay to see the next card.

When you make a small bet your are counting on your opponents not raising, and the fact that you won't be forced to call a bigger bet from them is you have checked to them.

Blocking bet overview

First we'll see the basic points of the blocking bet and the reason why this play only works when you are out of position. We will also see two different situations in which the blocking bet can be used: when you have a drawing hand during the game and when you hold a weak hand made on the river. Finally we will be talking about a common mistake made when the blocking bet is used and the importance of disguising the move.

In order to understand the blocking bet you need to study what your goal is. Your aim is to see the following card (or a showdown) without spending much if you think that your opponent will make a big bet when you check. This last part is really important since if the other player checks behind, you really are bulding the pot instead of betting to see a cheap card (for example).

Blocking bet example

Suppose you limp behind another player who has limped before the flop with JHeart 10 Heart and you deal with a re-raise from the button (the first player who limped in folds). The flop is A Heart 7 Clover 2 Heart , and you get a flush draw. You decide to check and the button makes a half-pot size bet. You call since you think that the stack sizes are deep enough for you to get the correct implied odds and make a flush.

The turn comes out A Heart 7 Clover 2 Heart K Diamond .

If you check, you expect your opponent to make a bet so big that it would prevent you from continuing with your flush draw. On the other hand, you could make a small bet of 1/3rd of the pot. In this way you'll stop your opponent from making a bet that is too big: if he calls holding a top pair (quite likely), this means that you'll have the chance to see the river card without spending much.

The advantages of the blocking bet

The blocking bet has two main advantages:

  1. If you get to make your draw, you can count on winning a good amount of money.
  2. You only have to use it when you are out of position.

1) If you complete your flush on the river, then you'll probably get paid by a player with a pair or a better hand. The blocking bet prevented the other player from betting an amount that you could not possibly call, and it also disguised your hand. If you miss the river then a checking and folding is probably the best move against most players.

2) With inverted positions (you on the button instead of out of position), then you would not need a blocking bet. The other player would have acted before you did and you would not be able to call his big bet. If, after you call his flop bet, your opponent checks on the turn, you would be able to check behind in an attempt to make your flush with a free card.

Blocking bet advantages overview

The blocking bets move can also be used when all the cards are out. You should use the river blocking bet when your opponent bluffs habitually, it means that the fact that he bets big on the river could mean he holds a monster hand or he is just bluffing. If you have a medium strength hand like a top pair with a good kicker, then you could use the blocking bet sometimes to get to the showdown without spending much.

The idea is to scare your poker opponent from bluffing with a bet which is big enough, but it also has to be small enough to allow you to fold without losing much when your rival has a very strong hand and comes over the top. Whether or not you must block on the river will depend on your evaluation of the rival. If he is capable of bluffing big in the river then the blocking bet can be really effective.

A common mistake when using the blocking bet

In Poker Texas Hold'em, the biggest mistake players make with blocking bets is to bet a small amount when they are trying to block. You will not be able to make this move against opponents who are observant since they will realize the meaning of your small bets.

This happens because the blocking bet can be easily faced with a bluff or a semi bluff. You'll make this move with hands which cannot call a big bet due to its nature.

Bet a prudent amount when making a blocking bet, if you do not your opponent will be more than happy to call and make it very difficult (and unprofitable) for you to continue on the game.

A solution is to add value bets when you have a very strong hand most of the time. If those same rivals cannot say if your small bets are blocking bets or value bets, then they will not have a very clear answer. You have put him in a situation in which they can make a mistake and it will give you a benefit.

Blocking bet evaluation

To sum up, the blocking bet is made when you are out of position against a rival who you expect to bet if you check. This move is made with hands which do not want to call a big bet, for example draws during the game and hands with a medium strength on the river.

You'll confuse your opponent if you bet a small amount and you'll make him call instead of rising, and as a result you'll be able to see the next card (or showdown) relatively with little money. Make sure you mix up your blocking bets with value raises: once your rivals have understood your blocking bets they will no longer be effective.

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