Skilled players have one recipe for successful bluffing: the blocker. Many of you may have heard the term before, but chances are the app has something to do with preflop. In this article, we’ll use a hand I played recently as an example to see how blockers can make our bluffs work more often post-flop. The idea is simple: when a card is in our hand, it prevents our opponent from having a combination in his range that might have that card. In Hold’em, there are 1,326 possible starting hand combinations, and 16 of these combinations are any two unpaired cards, the H. There are 16 ways to knock someone out with 10-9 or K-J (four of the same suit or suit; and 12 of different colors or unsuitable). There are six other combinations for each paired card combination. This means there are six ways to draw A-A (A♦A♣, A♦A♠, A♦A♥, A♣A♠, A♣A♥ and A♥A♠) or any other pair. Thinking about range or understanding blockers in this way helps us a lot. For example, if I have A-K preflop, the chance of our opponent having a pair of Aces or Kings is reduced by 50% because the combination of A-A and K-K is reduced from 12 to 6. So when we have A-K, we shouldn’t be afraid to head up these pairs because we’ll be blocking them. Learning to use blockers effectively is a very important tool in selecting bluffs, both pre-flop and post-flop. When we pick hands with the right blockers, our opponents are less likely to resist. Now it’s the hand’s turn. Use a blocker to set up a bluffing range I raise from the button (BTN) and the big blind (BB) calls. The flop comes A♥ 10♠ 7♦. He calls. I bet. He calls. The turn is the 2♠. He calls. I bet. He calls. The river is the 2♣. He calls. Which hand should I bet with? To answer this question, we need to understand BTN’s raising range and BB’s calling range when the pot is empty. With the help of the impact assessment process, we can examine in detail how this affects our strategy. On a board of A-10-7-2-2, it is not difficult to decide which hands we can bet on the three streets shown in dark green (98 combinations in total). However, to make our opponent tougher, we also need to balance our betting range with bluff combinations. If we don’t, our opponents can easily take advantage of us by always folding medium and weak hands. When we balance our range, it becomes more difficult to take advantage of it. The best way to bluff is with a hand that blocks your opponent’s check-call combination (shown in pink in Diagram 3) (shown in dark green in Diagram 2). These hands are a valid choice for a number of reasons. First, they block some of the A-X combinations that opponents need on multiple streets. If we choose J-9 as a bluff, there will be 10 fewer A-J combinations (the big blind will likely only call A-J even if the hand is off the board) and fewer A-9s. Second, those hands by the river can be valuable hands. J-9, J-8, and 9-8 could turn into the nuts on the A-10-7 flop, preventing our hand from paying off. Remember also that we can use this concept to ensure our ranges are perfectly balanced. In the example above, if we bet the pot on the river with our full value and bluffing range, we would need two value hands to face the bluff, even at the odds we were giving our opponent’s pot ( 2 to 1). Given that our value range consists of 98 combinations, our bluffing range should be 49 combinations. Bluffs shown in pink correspond to 52 hand combinations, ie. H. To be fully balanced in this situation, we must be left with three hand combinations. In practice, however, maintaining a perfectly balanced range isn’t always the best move, especially at the lower limit. Building your bluffing range with blockers is the best way to ensure your bluffs get the most value. Remember that if your hand has little or no showdown value and is preventing your opponent from calling a certain number of combinations in his range, you should put it in a bluffing range. Table 1: BTN’s opening raising range (44.19%) Red and Green: BTN’s raising range Green: Hand strong enough to bet for value on all three streets Flop Yellow: On the turn Or fold on the river. Dark Green: Discard any bets made on the river. Red: Will not exit. Table 3: BTN opening ranges for bluffing with good hands. Red and Pink = BTN’s starting range. Pink = bluffing A-T-7-2-2 marginal good hands.