If you want to be a successful poker player you have to be unpredictable. There are many different techniques you can use to achieve this goal:
Gaining a free card
If you’re in last position and every one checks to you on the flop, it’s a good idea to bet even though you’re not holding the strongest hand. Your bet will probably make the other players check again on the turn and when this happens you can see the river for free. This is very valuable when you’re holding a straight or flush draw. It’s risky to make another bet on the turn if the draw didn’t hit. If you’re check-raised by someone your draw is suddenly an expensive one.
Check and raise
When you have a really strong hand you should try to make the most of it. If you think someone acting behind you is holding a good hand, but weaker than yours, you should check in the hopes that he bets. If he does you make a raise. The closer to the left of you the player who made the initial bet is the more effective your check-raise will be since it forces the players to the left of him to pay the raise as well since they already have paid one bet.
Making a Semi-Bluff
A Semi-Bluff is when you bet or raise with a hand that probably isn’t the best at the moment but has a good chance to improve (you have many outs). The main goal is the steal the pot right away but even if someone calls you still have a chance to win. Typical situations to Semi-Bluff in are when you’re holding straight or flush draws.
Another way to maximize your winnings is slowplaying big hands. In these cases you don’t want to reveal the strength of your hand and scare your opponents into folding. Instead of betting or raising you check or call even though you’re certain you have the best hand. When you’ve made your opponents think that they have you beat you make you’re move in the later betting rounds. If you use this play at the right time it will be very profitable.
However, a lot of players slowplay too often. When you do this and lose you really have thrown money away. Generally you shouldn’t slowplay when one or more of the criteria listed below are met:
- A free card might beat you.
- A free card is not likely to give your opponent a second-best hand.
- The pot is large.
- There are several players in the hand