In Texas Hold’em, you say that a player has the initiative when all future betting revolves around him. You gain the initiative when you play aggressively in every betting round. When you have the initiative, you are perceived as the player with the strongest hand on the table.
Taking the initiative is making the aggressive plays during the betting round. This involves betting and raising. You do not gain initiative if you just call or check.
When do you take the initiative
The most common time to take the initiative is before the dealer makes the flop. There is always a high probability that there will someone who will raise and there will be callers to follow. Of course there is always the chance during the turn or the river.
Again, the player that shows the fang on the poker table is the player with the initiative. The initiative will move from one player to another on different betting rounds. It is up to you to make the impression that you have the strongest hand and dominate the table.
Why you should have the initiative
Taking the initiative gives you several advantages. When you raise or when you bet on a hand, you give the cards you are holding unlimited strength. Image is very important in poker. When you have the initiative you are taking the helm and you will control the table as people will wait for you to make your move.
You will also make life difficult for your opponent since they cannot put your cards on a certain range and cannot estimate how they should play against it. When you have the initiative and play aggressive, you push the other players to the edge. You force them to make difficult decisions. The tougher they handle, the more mistakes they will make. You can lure them to your trap and you will go home with more poker money in hand.
Managing Relative Position in Texas Holdem
Experience players of poker will tell you that position is very important in the game. It will be to you advantage if you can play last and see how Dealer Button everyone else on the table is thinking or planning.
Most players will love a position on the cut off or the button since this will be most likely the most profitable seat. You have to consider though your relative position or where you are relative to the position of the pre-flop raiser.
There will be a pre-flop most of the going in a round of Texas Holdem. Your relative position may be a very important factor if you are playing last or on the button.
Remember that the pre-flop raiser will most likely push out a continuation bet once the flop is done. This player wants to let everyone believe that he or she has a good hand. The rest of the players on the table will most likely check this pre-flop player.
It will be a very difficult task to play when you know what you call will not close off what is on play. It is also difficult when you are sandwiched between players whose hands you don’t have an idea of.
The best position relative to the pre-flop raiser is to his or her right so you will close off betting for the round if the pre-flop raiser pushes for a continuation bet. Another advantage of this is seeing how the other players react to the continuation bet of the pre-flop raiser.
As you gain more experience, you will be able to gauge how your actual and relative position on a poker table will affect your game.
I’m Jason Rockwell. When I’m not winning playing online poker, I enjoy writing about my love of the game. Thanks for visiting!