When you are playing poker and need to bet you must think and the reasons why you have to bet. For the most part there really is a short list of reasons why you need to bet into a hand. These include placing a value bet, bluffing, looking for information or protecting your hand.
In many cases players are at a point in a hand that will require that they take some action. Many will argue the best times to do this whether it be preflop, after the flop, on the turn or on the river. In the end it comes to down to the opponent you face and the playing techniques they use as each player is unique and must be played different to the next.
This article will discuss each of those reasons and give some insight into each.
• bluffing – Bluffing is an important part of any successful poker players strategy. This can occur at different points of the hand such as you bet into the hand based on your hole cards and failed to hit or pair the board. You want your opponent to think you have a better hand and therefore make a bluff bet with the hopes you opponent will fold his/her hand. It is imperative to understand who you are playing against before you simply sit at a table and bluff a hand as you might be called and potentially then have to fold should you not hit a better hand on the turn card. When you are bluffing what you have for a hand is not so much as important as to how you bet into the bluff! Be sure to bet enough to cause the other player to stop and think but not so much that you risk your bankroll.
• Value Betting – When faced with this decision you usually have the best hand and want to get as much value for it as possible out of other players who are in a hand. This is what value betting is as it requires that you bet just enough to get called but not so much as to scare off the other players. It needs to be enough to avoid the possibility of chasers and enough that should they not hit on the next card out that continuing in the hand would become too expensive with your follow up bet.
• Information Betting – Information betting is when you are faced with a situation that you think you have the better hand but are unsure as to where your opponent may be in the hand. Therefore firing out a small raise after the flop or turn will provide you information as to the strength of your opponent’s hand. If your opponent calls or raise it could be they are bluffing or have a stronger hand than you. If that is the case then you risked less than have you acted in a more aggressive manner.
• Protection Betting – Protection Betting is used to protect a stronger hand in the earlier stages of a hand. It allows you to push other players off a hand before another card is dealt and potentially giving them the nuts. When faced with this situation you will need to bet a larger amount that is enough to cause the other player to fold but should they push be prepared to follow through with your hand.