Continuing our discussion of blockers for newbies this time we look at how much more we can call when we block a hand we are worried about.

The cards in your hand reduce the possibilities of your opponent’s range

In our last article we introduced the concept of Blockers and gave a basic example of how they can change your decisions. Today we are going to look at how they specifically can impact whether you call a bet or not. 

Let’s say we get to the river of a 97254 board and our opponent bets big. Our read is that they have either missed completely or have a monster. Which of these hands would we be best calling them with?




Most people would say the A9 is the best hand to call with, because the A kicker means we have the best top pair, but remember we think our opponent either has a bluff or a huge hand.

In this scenario the 96 is the better hand to call with. Why? Because we block the chances of Villain having 86 for the nut straight. When we call with A9 there are potentially 16 combinations of 86 out there but when we call with 96 there are only 12 because we have one of the sixes. Villain is 25% less likely to have the straight when we have a six in our hand. 

If you said T9 that is also a mistake, because that hands blocks the chances of Villain having a missed straight draw. If they are bluffing it is likely with a hand like T8 that missed their straight. When we have a ten ourselves it has the reverse impact on our opponent having a potential bluff. There is also the discussion of whether Villain has a missed flush draw and what the clubs in our hand do to make that likely, but we’ll leave it there for now. 

Blockers are just one consideration when it comes to calling a bet, your reads on how likely your opponent is to be bluffing and how likely they are to have played the sort of hand you are worried about are just as important. But blockers are a concept you really need to think about and study further because long term they will have a profound impact on your bottom line. 

Related Resources

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Chasing draws

How blockers play a role in pots where you chase draws

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Blockers in PLO

Twice as many cards, twice as many blockers

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