Let’s face it; nobody likes being suckered into someone else’s strong hand do they? You bluff raise the river and get called and then when your opponent checks the turn and you then fire a second barrel which also gets called. Your opponent then checks the river and you feel compelled to stick the rest of your chips in the middle but your opponent calls with the nuts or some other strong holding.
However there is a very good tactic for figuring out if your opponent is strong or not but do be warned that this play really only works when you have position and also if your opponent is a very straight forward thinking player. Let us say that your opponent raised to 3.5 big blinds and you called with the Jc-10c on the button. Both blinds fold and you go to the flop heads up which comes 8d-7d-4s giving you a gutshot straight draw with overcards. The stakes are $0.50-$1.00 and the pot has $8.50 in the middle and your opponent makes a continuation bet for $5.50.
You raise to $18 on a semi-bluff and your opponent calls. At any one time in any hand of poker then we can broadly categorise our opponents hand into three types. We can thus say that they either have a strong hand, a mediocre hand or a weak hand. When our opponent continuation bets the flop then they could have either with the probability being that they are either weak or mediocre. However that picture changes when they call our raise.
Now they either have a mediocre hand that probably doesn’t want any more action or they have a strong hand. With either holding they will check again on the turn and here is where we can check it back. If they really have a strong hand then our opponent will be fearful of checking again on the river in case we check it back and they miss value…….this means that they will bet. If they check then they have basically told us that they are trying to play for a cheap showdown and here is where a full or near pot sized bet can take down the pot……if you have the nerve to do it that is.