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Special poker moves and the strategy behind them


Bet/raise for value

When you bet or raise or check/raise to put more money in the pot because you think your chances of winning the pot are good

Bet, raise or check/raise for protection

When you have a hand that is presumably the best at the moment, but is vulnerable to “scare cards”, you have to protect your hand. That means you make it as expensive as possible for the others to call in order to eliminate opponents that might draw out on you.
You can do that by betting, but that may not be enough. If you were first to act, you can check and hope that a late player bets, so that you can raise and thus confront all the players between you and the bettor with having to call two bets cold, which will probably make it to expensive for them because now they don’t get good pot odds to call.
If an early player bets and you raise, the same applies. Only here, the original bettor is likely to call the raise, and he is right to do that. But now you are only playing against one player, which means that you are less likely to be outdrawn by this one player than by multiple players. You have, again, eliminated potential opposition and improved your chances to win the pot.
This concept is very important. So let’s give a simple example:
You are in early position holding Kh Th and call pre-flop. 3 other players call too, the dealer raises, and you and the three others call that raise. The flop is T52 rainbow, giving you top pair with excellent kicker. The only cards you have to worry about are the high pocket pairs and AT.  Now you check, expecting that all players will check to the dealer, who will bet again. In turn, you can raise and now the three players between you and the dealer will fold because they have to call two bets cold. Even the dealer might fold because his original bet may have been intended to make everybody fold, but in any case you got him heads-up now and your chances to win this pot have improved significantly.
Supposed the move goes wrong and everybody calls – well then if no overcards come, you may win the pot after all, and you have successfully filled it.

Raising for a free card or free showdown

Especially at the low limits and when playing against passive players, you can often see the following: When a player raises, in the next round most players check to the raiser. If the raiser is in late position, he can now choose to take a free card.
You hold Ad Jd on the button. Flop is Qs, 7d, 2d. A player in early position bets, and you call. You now have a flush draw to the nuts. The early position player bets. With this hand, you will want to see the river anyway. You raise, and the early player calls. The turn is 5s. The early player will now very often check to you because of your raise. Now you can decide to take a free look at the river card. Had you just called, the other guy would have bet again on the river, so in both cases you have invested two bets. Your advantage is, that if the turn card is your fifth flush card you have successfully filled the pot. In this case, of course, you do not take a free card but bet out again. Sometimes your raise on the flop wins you the pot right away when the other player folds. This move can be used after the flop and after the turn.
Aggressive players may see through your intentions and bet into you even at the turn although you raised the flop, so this tactical move can backfire.

Going for overcallers

For a start, use this concept on the turn or river only, or when you have a monster of a made hand. Let’s assume you are in middle position and you are sure to have the best hand. The Big Blind and three late players are still in the game. The early player bets. If you raise now, the remaining players are likely to fold. If you just call, they may call too, and you win their bets as well instead of just the original bettor’s. Your investment is lower, and the reward is higher ( 2 bets from the bettor if you raise, as opposed to the bettors bet plus 3 bets from the players behind you if you just call). If your hand is vulnerable, do not try that, see the section about slowplaying. You must then protect your hand by trying to eliminate the overcallers with a raise.
Deposit options for US poker fans

If you are based in the US, finding a poker room that accepts US players is only one of your problems. It is also difficult to make money transfers. But there are a number of options for deposits and withdrawals for US gamblers and we have described them here ... read more

All Freeroll Poker Tournaments starting now

All the big poker rooms are offering freeroll tournaments. There is no need to deposit, but you can still win real money. To find a permanently updated schedule of all freerolls starting in the next few minutes, across all rooms - click this link!

Play Poker and Blackjack at the same room

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games, due to a low house edge and the fact that strategy can improve your results. But not all poker rooms have Blackjack too. Find our favorite rooms for Poker and Blackjack - read this!

European Poker Tour qualifiers

The European Poker Tour is becoming more and more popular. With moderate buy-ins, but very large prize pools, a lot of money can be made at these events. In consequence, several rooms are offering satellites to qualify for the offline EPT events. To find out which rooms offer the best chances for EPT qualification read this article.