Once you get the hang of the basics of the game of Texas Holdem and have a good feel for which starting hands are better than others, you should begin to employ some basic strategy. This includes things such as betting draws, check raising, and bluffs. We’ll discuss all three below with a few thoughts on each. Since most mixed game players have a lot of experience with Texas Holdem you need to at least be able to hold your own during the Holdem rotation. The strategies below are basic tactics you can use to ensure that you are not making any of the mistakes new players make. I have added links to our other Texas Holdem related articles below.
Betting draws In Texas Holdem
A great strategy is to bet the flop on a drawing hand such as a flush draw or a straight draw. If you’re doing this on a straight draw you want to have an open-ended draw in most cases because a gut shot draw has lower odds of actually hitting. We’re not here to talk about odds though, that’s for another discussion. What we do want to focus on here is the upside of betting this type of draw – either forcing your opponent to fold a hand or building a bigger pot and taking it down from aggression on the turn or hitting your draw and raking a huge pot on the river if your opponent doesn’t fold.
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Check raising in Texas Holdem
One aggressive strategy involves setting up an opponent to bet by appearing to be weak. Checking typically means that you either missed the flop and didn’t connect or that you feel your hand is probably not the best hand. By checking to an opponent that bets only to turn around and raise him when the action returns to you is a very strong signal that you now have a powerful hand. In cases where the opponent doesn’t believe you, you can get paid off and hopefully build a big pot in the process. Another method of check raising is when you have a big draw (as mentioned above) and check raise in the hopes of hitting on the turn or river or making your opponent fold their hand due to your aggression.
Bluffing In Texas Holdem
Bluffs should be part of a well rounded bag of tricks that you bring to the table. More of an art than science, there’s no “right time” to bluff. You have to rely on reads and timing your bluffs at the appropriate times in order to profit from them. To bluff someone means that you hold virtually no hand that could beat your opponent so again, timing is critical here.
If I haven’t hammered that point home yet, let me repeat it again: When it comes to bluffing, timing is everything. If you’re able to pick up on a tell (or more likely) or a pattern from your opponent, that’s the time to bluff. Sensing weakness is one thing, making your opponent lay down a hand is another. That’s why timing and reads are so important, if you’re up against a player that’s so bad they can’t lay down a mediocre hand, you can’t bluff them. They don’t know any better!
While check raising and betting draws are more mathematically based in theory, the bluff is entirely based on your gut feel. If you bluff at a player and get called or even worse, raised, then it’s likely time to throw in the towel. Only advanced players should try to fire more than one bluff at an opponent, so you’d better be damn sure of your read if you’re going to bluff again after being called. At the end of the day though, it’s your money, so bluff accordingly!
These are some good strategies that you should work on as your game improves. There’s much more to learn about the math behind betting draws and check raising, so read more on the subject before trying it at higher limits. There have been books written on each topic so don’t think from reading one article or a few forum posts that you’re ready to employ this stuff right away. Take your time and learn, your bankroll will thank you for it later!