General concepts

Points of Play

Tournament Play

Playing Hand in Middle Round

We have already discussed about a plan when playing any particular hand of poker. By that I meant there should be a reason  for your playing your hand in some specific way.

Even expert poker players sometimes play a hand badly but they always have some reason for playing it the way they did. The same cannot be said for less experienced players.

In my earlier essays, I discussed the ply of betting when all the cards are out. I pointed out that there usually can be only two possible reasons to make this play. One reason would be to try to get a worse hand to call. The second reason is to try to get a better had to fold.

If it is quite unlikely in a particular poker game that  a bet will accomplish either of these objectives, then you should check.  As long as all the cards are out.

When there are more cards to come, however, it is a different story, while the two aforementioned reasons still apply, there are now two other important reasons to consider betting:

  1. To avoid important a free card.
  2. To create a false impression for future betting rounds.

It frequently occurs that your hand is probably quite a bit better than your opponent’s, but he will only call you in those rare cases where his hand is better.

You should still bet in this situation if there are more cards to come to avoid giving him a free card to outdraw you.As an example from seven-card stud poker: Suppose you make an open pair of aces on the fifth card which gives you two pair. 

You must bet even if you think your opponent has only one pair and will not call your bet, unless he has aces up beaten.

A check on your part would give him the chance to make three-of-a-kind on the next card. It would be correct to check only if there were no more cards to come.

The other reason to bet usually occurs in the early rounds of seven-card stud or seven-card lowball. It may very well be right to bet a hand that you know is no better or even slightly worse than your opponent’s in order to create an impression that may help you on a later round.

For instance, in seven-card lowball, it usually is correct to bet an ace, deuce showing on the fourth card when your opponent is showing, let’s say, a nine and seven, even when you have a hidden pair of deuces:

Seven-Card Razz

      Seven card razz                                           

       You                                         Opponent

You should bet in this spot even though you expect to get called.  By betting you show no weakness which will help you steal the pot if you catch another “baby.”

By betting, you have shown strength which may allow you to steal the pot on a future round if you catch another low card showing.

A similar situation might occur in winning 7-card stud, where you have two red deuces in the hole and are showing the eight and nine of spades. 

A bet on your part is correct if you think your opponent will call you temporarily with what appears to be a medium pair.  This is because they are  many cards you can catch on a later round which will make him give it up:

Seven-Card Stud


            You                                      Opponent

If your opponent checks, bet.  If he bets you should consider a raise.  You have many “scare cards” that you can catch  that will make him fold on a later round.

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