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Blocking Bet

Sometimes you get in a hand that starts out pretty good and maybe even continues good beyond the flop.  But by the time you get to the river, you've got a lot of problems.  For one thing, you didn't improve much.  For another, there are a lot of possibilities on the board that could beat you.  And finally, you're out of position.  Other than that, you're in great shape!

While you're unlikely to win, you're hand is still strong enough to stick around, and you're pretty much pot-committed.  But there's one way to escape without losing too much money.  The Blocking Bet.

The Blocking Bet is reserved for those moments when you find yourself heads-up and out of position, and you're pretty sure you're on the short end.  Such frustration usually leads to a demure check, and a prayer that your opponent doesn't bet, forcing you into a difficult position.

But sometimes, a more aggressive approach actually saves you more money and may even make you some.  Taking the bull by the horns and making a bet shows your opponent that you have a strong hand.  Oh, but wait – you don't.  But he doesn't have to know that.

For all your opponent knows, your bet represents strength – but probably not enough to get him to fold.  But certainly enough to avoid losing as much as you would have.  Let's take a look at an example.

Let's say you caught with J-6 offsuit in the Big Blind. 

But when the flop comes J-6-10 with two spades, you're suddenly stuck. 

As a matter of fact, you're now the aggressor.  But your frustration builds when you're unable to chase one stubborn player.  A 2 on the turn has your wheels spinning wondering what he's got. 

Did he slow play pocket 6s?  J-10?  Maybe your bet wasn't enough to scare him off a flush or straight draw.  And then when the river shows the K of spades, you're fairly certain you're cooked.

But how cooked is up to you.  If you check, you're sending the clear message that the K did not help you, and allowing your opponent an opportunity to force you to prove it.  He's likely to lay down as much as a half-pot or full-pot bet.  However, if you lay down a quarter-pot Blocking Bet, he's much more like to merely call you out of fear that you have real strength.  Or, if he has a monster hand, he'll send a clear signal by raising you.  Either way, you come out ahead by losing less.