Although the idea of blockers is more commonly found in Omaha, this concept certainly has its place in Texas Hold’em as well. While many players tend to disregard blockers completely, applying this concept correctly in your overall game-plan can be an important secret weapon in your arsenal. In this short article, we’re bringing you some quick and useful blocker tips to help you recognize the types of situations where they can be of use.
What are Blockers?
For those new to this concept, we should first briefly define the term. Blockers are cards that prevent, i.e. block, a particular hand from being made. Very often, they are applied in situations where flush hands are in play. For example, if you’re holding an Ace of Spades in your hand and there are three spades on the board, it is possible for your opponent to have a flush. But, it is impossible for them to have the nut flush.
Another scenario that often emerges in relation to blockers is when you’re holding a pocket pair with two cards that are required to make the nuts (or virtual nuts). For example, you may have pocket 6s on a board reading 4 5 Q 8 9. While here it is possible for another player to have 67 for the nut straight. The fact you’re holding two 6s effectively cuts the number of these combinations in half.
Using Blockers Before the Flop
The idea of blockers can be quite useful in preflop wars. Every time you have an Ace in your hand, the mathematical odds of another player as well holding an Ace are reduced. There are four Aces in the deck and you’re holding one of them). This also means that they’re at least somewhat less likely to have a really big hand when they raise before the flop.
So, every now and then, if there is a raise before you and you have an Ace in your hand, you can consider 3-betting betting as a bluff. Even without holding a premium hand, especially against active players.
This is even better with hands such as small suited Aces. They also have the potential of flopping straights and flushes so have pretty good playability.
To get some solid preflop ranges, you can grab Texas Holdem poker hands cheat sheets and instantly apply them in your games.
Using Blockers to Put Pressure on Your Opponents
Blockers can also be very valuable on flops and turns in different bluffing spots. This is particularly true for blockers to the nut flush. For example, if the turn comes to a third heart and you’re holding a bare Ace of hearts in your hand, you can put a lot of pressure on your opponent by continuing to bet big or raising their bet.
This is the kind of spot where you simply know your opponent will have a hard time continuing. Even when their hand range contains some flushes. They never have the nuts and you can comfortably represent the nuts because you’re holding the key card. Additionally, with the river still to come, you can still improve to a flush. So, your hand has great playability. Even if it is essentially just an Ace high at the moment.
Blockers and Bluff-catching
The third area where blockers can be of use is in the spots where your opponent is betting into you. And that the situation is such where they’re pretty much representing the nuts or nothing. While these spots are a bit too complicated to explain in this short article, more experienced players can usually recognize them when they see them.
In these spots, you can make some fairly light calls. Especially if you’re holding the key card completely blocking the nuts. Or you have a combination of cards that seriously reduces the possibility of the nuts. Of course, these need to be used sparingly. You’ll need to factor in other important aspects. Such as your opponent’s overall aggression factor and tendency to bluff. But, blockers can definitely help give you that final piece of information. This information can help you make up your mind in some difficult spots.
Check out the other articles in this poker strategy series here:
– Part 1 of our Poker Strategy Tip Series: Poker Tip #1 | Playing Suited Connectors
– Part 2 of our Poker Strategy Tip Series: Poker Tip #2 | Check Raising Strategy
– Part 3 of our Poker Strategy Tip Series: Poker Tip #3 | Slow Playing Do’s and Don’ts
– Part 5 of our Poker Strategy Tip Series: Poker Tip #5 | Limp Pots – When and Why
– Part 6 of our Poker Strategy Tip Series: Poker Tip #6 | Squeeze Play – Top Things to Consider
– Part 7 of our Poker Strategy Tip Series: Poker Tip #7 | Adjusting Versus Different Opponents