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The Last Bet

Turn Betting Strategy in Texas Holdem Poker

The decisions that are made at the pre-flop stage and on the flop are actually pretty straightforward for many poker players. The turn, however, is where the game becomes a real contest for many because they're no longer following their usual playing style; they have to make real decisions. A good poker player is able to make decisions on the turn just as smoothly as they can earlier in the hand, but it takes practice.

A lot of players get disconcerted when the turn comes to them because the pot gets much larger and a greater portion of your stack is being risked when you bet into it. At the same time, the basics of the game itself become much more complex as more cards are in play and a player that once was holding a middling pair may now be holding 3 of a kind with that 6 that just hit.

Playing the Turn

Let's look at an example of fairly typical turn play that throws off a lot of players. Our player has 7s8s, a very tidy mid-range duo that makes a nice connector for both a straight while giving you a solid chance at a flush. The flop offers up Qs and 8h6h. The player before you opts to make a large bet, but are they actually able to beat you? You've got a pair with that 8 and you're three cards into a straight. Add in the fact that the Queen of Spades offers you a long shot at a flush and it's a good idea to call and see the turn. So, what do you do when the 7 of clubs comes down? You've got a set, but that player that bet before you may now be packing something really worth taking to the end.

This can make you nervous enough to make a bet that ends up telegraphing your hand and reducing the potential amount you might win if you have the better hand. In a moment like this, you need to actually observe and act based on how the player you're facing down has performed in similar hands. Poker is a game where people make decisions and that means you have to judge whether their previous aggressiveness means you can maximize your winnings or if calling or making a half-pot raise is the best way to go.

How to Play the Turn

Once you're past the pre-flop and flop, the game becomes much more psychological and you have to observe how players act much more carefully. This can seem difficult when you're playing online, but by sticking to only one table and making some mental notes, the back half of any hand is much easier to play. It's also a good idea to remember that your own cards color your view of the game and the same for your opponent. Keep a certain distance when you play and you’ll be better off on the turn.


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