Blocking bets – do they work?

Hammer beats Kings
Image by Chris Hanel via Flickr

I was playing in a recent online tourney. It was a game of No Limit Holdem.  I had caught the following hand while I was in the big blind. The blinds were 25/50. The following is how the hand played out. I have changed all but my name to protect the innocent.

Dealt to Steve_Treys [5c 4c] - had 1,945 in chips
Opponent1: calls 50, had 880 in chips before the call
Opponent2: folds
Opponent3: folds
Opponent4: folds
Opponent5: folds
Opponent6: folds
Opponent7: folds
Opponent8: folds
Steve_Treys: checks
*** FLOP *** [9d Qs 2s]
Steve_Treys: bets 50 - having caught a piece of it for a possible straight.
Opponent1: calls 50
*** TURN *** [9d Qs 2s] [3c]
Steve_Treys: bets 50, Now has a back door open ended straight possible
Opponent1: calls 50
*** RIVER *** [9d Qs 2s 3c] [As]
Steve_Treys: bets 100, having hit the straight.
Opponent1: calls 100
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Steve_Treys: shows [5c 4c] (a straight, Ace to Five)
Opponent1: mucks hand
Steve_Treys collected 525 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 525 | Rake 0
Board [9d Qs 2s 3c As]
Seat 1: Opponent2 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: Opponent3 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: Opponent4 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: Opponent5 (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 5: Steve_Treys (big blind) showed [5c 4c] and won (525) with a straight, Ace to Five
Seat 6: Opponent1 mucked [Qh Kh]
Seat 7: Opponent6 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: Opponent7 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: Opponent8 folded before Flop (didn't bet)

I lead off after the flop and was called on a drawing hand. I made a minium bet hoping to win the hand right there but also hoping to catch the cards I wanted at a small price. Any raise or re-raise and I would have folded my hand. Instead, I was making a play called a blocking bet. I did not know it was called that until a few days later, when I read about it in my twitter friends book, “Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves: Expert Plays for No-Limit Tournaments” . But that was what I was trying to do.

The idea is that if I make a bet, my opponent might fold or just call, giving me more chances to make my hand. And that is just what happened. The additional increased bet at the river was a value bet, that I hoped my opponent would call to increase my profits for that hand.

A blocking bet does not alwasys work and you have to be ready to decide what you are going to do if you are raised or re-raised.

Have you every made this play? Did it work out for you? How often should you do this?

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