Like many players of poker, you’re not sure exactly how to play the turn. Even though you’ve read plenty of books and understood the basic terminology, you’re still unsure about some of the most basic principles of poker.
At the heart of any poker strategy is the understanding of the turn – whether to raise, call or fold. Knowing how to play the turn is vital to any aggressive poker player, as it’s the stage you’ll make the most money from your opponents.
Granted, a winning MPO500 strategy isn’t just about what cards you get dealt at the start of the round, but is also about what cards you do get dealt, and how those cards can win you the pot.
Winning poker strategy, then, is about the battle plan you fashion for that critical moment in the game, whether it be the first card you want or the last card you expect.
At the start of any poker game, you should tell yourself, “I will not raise unless I have a strong hand.” Superficily, you won’t get another card if you don’t have one, so you are in a very strong position in the game. If however, you do have a strong hand, you need to conceal this strength, so that other players cannot get a read on you.
Next, you should choose a more positional approach to playing the turn, rather than raising in pre-flop and then folding when you get dealt a less than strong hand. Your bets in the pre-flop are then placed in a restricted manner. For example, you can’t raise from under the gun, nor can you just check in the blinds.
You’re only really going to have a chance at winning the pot in two ways: by bluffing, or by scoring a direct hit. The former is much easier to pull off, but the latter is much harder. If you score a direct hit, there are not many cards that can save you, so you’re gambling. But, even though you’re gambling, you’re not completely risking your stack to do so. You’re just risking your chips, so if you can, weigh your options, and make your move wisely.
Statistically, you have a 25% chance of hitting a monster hand on the turn. Remember that this is only calculated statistically. However, you can also calculate your odds of winning the pot, and the likelihood that other players will have a hit as well. Depending on your read of the other players and the cards on the table, you may be able to bet or fold that hand.
The read vary of a player’s cards can give you a much better idea of when to call or not. If you have a read on a player who plays very conservatively, there is a good chance that they will only play better hands. If you have a read on a player who bets his cards, there is a good chance he will call or raise unless he gets a very good card.
It is much harder to make a good read on a player who plays a lot of hands, however. If you’re playing novice players, it’s a good idea to fold a lot of hands before sitting down at the table. Consider folding before the flop if you’re dealt terrible cards. Having read players’ hands a well as many novice poker players’ cards, the odds of them folding given the cards you have is still low.
Then again, anyone can win a pot with any two cards in their hand, so it is not such a great thing when you read someone’s hand, especially if that player is new or is a good player. Being able to read the hands of other players helps you make better decisions and earn more money.
The hands you read may not help you win the game, but with a good one you will at least be on the right side of most pots. Being able to decipher what hands the other players have, based on their betting patterns and what cards they show down, gives you a great edge against most players.
It takes a lot of time and practice to learn how to make reads like this. If you teach yourself to be able to read players’ hands in live play, you can start to pick up some serious chips in online play.