Blocking Bet Introduction

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What is a Blocking Bet?

A blocking bet is a defensive move that can be used equally in tournament and cash games.

A blocking bet is when you make a bet out of position, in order to either stop your opponent from bluffing you or to reduce the amount it costs to see the next card – or to win the pot right there.  A blocking bet is usually made against a single opponent; however it can also be used just as effectively against two or three weak players.

The blocking bet is practical because it takes into account your opponent will be continuation betting the flop a lot of the time, especially in tournaments.   By betting out of position (first to act) – regardless of your hand, you effectively “block” your opponent from bluffing you off the pot. 

Blocking Bets Reduce the Cost to See Cards

Blocking bets, even if called, can serve to minimize the risk and cost of seeing the next card. 

Example: Suppose I’m acting in first position on the flop against a single opponent.  I miss the flop (though I have potential outs), so make a modest ½ pot continuation bet.  My opponent actually hit the flop with second pair.  More often than not, he would have raised me ¾ of the pot, however because I’ve already raised, he will just call.  I’ve made the pot cheaper to call by acting out of position, because I’ve turned what would have been a ¾ pot raise into a ½ pot raise.  The reason by opponent didn’t re-raise my block-bet is two-fold.  A) He felt his hand wasn’t strong enough to put in a re-raise of 3x my raise.  B) Because of my raise, he might think I 3bet any re-raise on his half.

Overall, while playing out of position is a disadvantage, by putting in a blocking bet here, you are negating your opponent’s positional advantage.

Another reason for using blocking bets is that it confuses opponents and makes you more difficult to read.  If you get re-raised after a blocking-bet, it can be an easy lay down, so you can really reduce the risks when playing this way.

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