The Last Two Cards

The best time to discard your hand in Hold'em is either before the flop or on the flop. If you still have an active hand by the turn, you are in for the duration.

The rounds of betting for the last two cards are at double the bet size of the first two rounds of betting. By the time you reach here, your hand and the holdings of your rivals should be fairly well defined. At the first of these last betting rounds six of your seven cards have been exposed. You just have only one more card coming. At this point, you should either definitely have the best hand or you have a draw to the probable best hand.

Most of the time, if your hand was good enough to stay in to the turn then it might be good enough to stay in to the river. Not always though. An example of when it might not be right to stay past turn card is when the pot was giving you enough odds to draw one card for an inside straight but when the bet doubles on the turn round, the pot is not twice the size and you are no longer getting enough odds to call.

If your draw on the flop was strong enough for an automatic call, then it might still be good enough to call on the turn. If your call on the flop based on a close analysis of the pot odds, then it is probably not good enough to call the larger turn bet.

There are two different basic situations to consider: first, when you are playing a made hand such as top pair and second when you are playing a draw such as flush draw.

Made Hands on the Turn

Pairs

If you hold any hand such as top pair on the flop, you should generally continue betting on the turn. You should bet even when the turn card is a scare card to you such as an overcard to what had been the top pair. One overcard to your pair should not generally give you cause to slow down with a hand that's probably still best.


Two Pair

Two pair should be bet on the turn. An exception is when the turn card made your two pair and you had been calling on the flop rather than raising or betting. You should often consider checking and raising. For example you hold A7 and the flop was Q74 and someone in late position bet after you checked. Now the turn is an Ace. Now the board is Q74A.

You should consider a check and raise here. The flop bettor probably either has a Queen or a 7. If the flop bettor had not raised before the flop then it is unlikely he has an Ace and a Queen. If you check then he'll bet and you can raise. If he had raised before the flop, you should not check-raise here. The danger of something like AA is just too great and you should just check and call.

Trips

If the card on the turn made trips for you, with a pair on the board, then whether to bet or check-raise depends on how aggressive the flop bettor is. For example, with the same hand and same flop as stated earlier, the turn card was a 7 rather than an Ace making the board on the turn look like Q744. Now an aggressive holdem player who has bet the flop will not likely be slowed down by the pair on the board but if the flop bettor is a passive player he would be concerned about the possibility that you have trips and check behind you if you check. Check and raise if you think someone else will bet. If you are not sure that some one else will bet, then go ahead and bet.

Overcards

If you called "on the flop" (i.e. the betting round after the flop appears) with overcards and didn't hit one on the flop, you should fold if someone bets. The bet size is now double size of the bet you called on the flop and you are not getting pot odds to make another call in most situations.

Picking Up a Draw

There are times when you called on the flop with, suppose, an inside straight draw and won't be getting the correct odds to continue to call on the turn bet. If you miss a draw like that, always check and be sure that you didn't pick up a flush draws with the turn card. If you have a four-flush in addition to the inside straight draw, you almost have a good enough draw to call and see the last card.

Letting them Bluff

There are two exceptions when it is better to check and call than to bet. That is when the turn card is an Ace or is the third card to a flush on the board. This is because those two cards offer an opportunity to your rival. Checking gives them a chance to bluff. The risk of checking is that they may check also, getting a free look at the river card.

The risk of betting is that they may fold a weak hand that they would have bluffed with if you had checked; the advantage of checking is that it may induce a bluff; and the advantage of betting is they may make mistake and fold even though you are getting sufficient pot odds to call. If they call then you still gain because you are getting more money in the pot when you are favored to win. To decide which action is best, consider your rivals, ascertain the potential risks and benefit in regards to how you expect your rivals to react and take the action.

Knowing Your Players

With the doubled bet, the turn is when many players try to get tricky. If you get raised on the turn, it becomes significant to distinguish between different kinds of players. You have to distinguish between the player who is raising because he is got the best hand or best draw, a poker player who is raising for information, and the player who is raising causes he thinks it is a fun.

Each of the situation calls for a different action usually fold raise and call respectively. All the learning habits and tendencies will virtually always pay off.

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