Best Hand in Texas Holdem Poker

There is no common way to determine the likelihood that you have the best holdem hand. As an example, let's take top pair as the probable best hand. Top pair is when one of the cards in your hand matches the highest card on the board.

Whenever you bet or raise with the best hand, you are reducing your pot odds, your rival is getting. For example, you have AA and your rival has KQ and the flop is KT6. Your rival will likely bet, thinking he has the best hand. Now, if you call, then your rival is getting 6-1 odds to try to outdraw you. The 6-1 comes from 5-1 on the pot odds and even money on your call of his bet.

If you raise, your rival's odds are cut from 6-1 down to 3.5-1 (or 7-2 five bets already in the pot plus your two bets compared with the two bets he has to put in the pot).

The odds of him getting a King or a Queen on the next card to improve to a better hand than your pair of Aces are 8-1 (it is round figure- six of the forty-five unknown cards will improve his hand). The reader should not that playing straight flush possibilities are ignored. It is because of the convenience; although slight, those chances should be included for complete analysis.

Whenever the money odds your rival is getting are less than the odds he has of improving, he is losing money. That means you gain money. You would profit in this situation if you only called. His main mistake was a bet and you gained from it but you profit even more by raising and reducing his money odds. Note that you are not raising because you have the best hand. Although you do have the best hand, you are raising because you profit from reducing your rival's money odds.

The Dreaded Free Card

The thing which you want to avoid is giving your rivals free chance to beat you. That's equivalent to giving infinite odds. Suppose you have JJ and the flop is 973. You probably have the best hand and there are some important reasons to bet here. What if your rival has two hearts? Or T9? Or A7 or 86? A player with any of these holdings has to draw to beat you. Make them pay to try. If you bet, they are probably getting the correct odds to call, but if you don't bet, you are giving them infinite poker outs odds. You can't give away gifts like that very often and expect to be a winning holdem poker player.

However, note that we are talking about a single rival. When you have four or five rivals who call, you may not have with such a good hand. Later we look at an example of this hand, this flop and considering four rivals. When you don't profit from the bet, you should consider folding if someone else bets, a couple of players are calling or raising. The perspective you need to take when evaluating a hand on the flop is different when you have multiple rivals than when you have a single rival.

Betting theory to keep giving up a free card can be even more important when you are not certain you have the best hand. For example, suppose you are on the big blind with a hand like 94 and no one raised before the flop. The flop is Q42. What would you do?

You should possibly bet. You might not have the best hand. Someone may have Queen, but you are not sure and the danger of that is not nearly as large as the danger of giving someone with a hand like T8 or 76 a free chance to beat you. If you do have the best hand and check then a lot of cards could come on the turn that will give someone a better pair than your pair of 4s. Also by betting, you might get someone with a better hand, like 88 to fold.

In the same flop, instead a hand like Q7, it is not nearly as important to bet. With that hand you shouldn't bet. The reason is that with this hand you still might not have the best hand but, if you do, then it isn't likely that the next card can harm you. By checking seven, you are giving your rivals a chance of a free card that will make them a second-best hand, not a best hand. You might encourage someone with a hand like 88 to bet and you aren't risking a raise in case your hand is not best.

Think about these two examples. In the second example we are more likely to have the best hand but it is the first case, when we are not sure at all that we have the best hand that it is important to bet. The free card poker concept is also very important in deciding whether to bet than whether you have the best hand.

Continue : Betting Theory: Check Raising