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5 1/2 Poker Betting Strategies You Must Master to Win More Pots
In poker, you place bets due to one of two reasons:
1) you feel you have the best hand and you want to increase the size of the pot or
2) you feel your opponent has a weak hand and they will fold if you bet.
Sure, you can add variations to the above but that's really what it comes down to. In order to maximize your winnings it's not how many pots you win but how big the pots are when you win them. To ensure that you are getting the most money every time you bet follow these 5 � simple betting strategies:
When you're sitting in prime position, aka the Dealer button, and everyone folds to you and you raise the big blind this is called �blind stealing�. The reason its called �stealing� is because most of the time the blinds will fold to a raise. As long as it is a larger enough raise. Even if one of them calls it can still be a good bet because now the pot is bigger and you're in a position of strength. You can now represent the flop much easier. Making it more likely that you can still win the pot with an inferior hand.
When you're last to act and everyone checks to you its wise to place a bet to accomplish one of two things. First you want to limit the number of people hoping to see a cheap flop. Second, in some cases you'll be able to get everyone to fold and you have in essence stolen the pot by placing a �steal-raise� bet.
You'll see this happen often. However, do not use it too much because you'll be an easy read for your opponents. This strategy is really effective when you have a strong drawing hand like a nut-flush draw. Most people will �check to the raiser� so when you do hit your flush you'll have a much larger pot to claim.
Check raising is simply checking to your opponent with the hopes that they place a bet and then you can come over top of them with a larger bet. This is a common practice for people that like to slow play. It is also something a lot of players hate to have happen to them. That's a good thing. Because if you have a strong hand and you Check-Raise and they get upset they are no longer thinking clearly and now you have the advantage.
However, this is also a strategy that you don't want to use too much. The reason being is because you'll be giving your opponents a lot of information they can use against you later in the game.
Some people feel the �opener� is a reckless move because most people that do it are bluffing and therefore easy to read. The �opener� happens when the first person to act raises the big blind. Most of the time this type of bet is placed because you want to eliminate all the chasers and people hoping to see a cheap flop. Sometime it even works as a backwards steal-raise because you may get everyone to fold and you can steal the blinds so-to-speak.
One note of caution however. If and when people do call your �opener� raise you can put them on a strong hand. Or at least you'll know that they are an aggressive player and you need to proceed with caution.
The feeler bet is similar to the opener. But it can happen even after the flop. When the hand is moving slowly and everyone is simply checking it may be wise to place a �feeler� bet to see what happens. You do this to �get a feel� of the strength of your opponent(s) hands. A lot of the time most of your opponents will fold. Other times someone will come over the top of you. Either way at least now you have some information on your opponents that you can use to beat them.
A �Squeezing� bet is used to limit your opponents pot odds in a short-handed game. You use this bet when you have a strong hand and you've put your opponent on some kind of draw. The odds are they will not hit their draw so you place a bet and make them pay to chase after their draw. This way you'll be able to increase the size of the pot or they will fold to you as they do not want to risk chasing the draw.
All-in-all, to maximize your winnings and make you a better poker player you need to use all of these betting strategies. And you need to use them at various times and really mix up your play to keep your opponents guessing. You never want to get into a rut and allow them to get a read on you and your play. When you can maintain the advantage over your opponents that's when you'll start to make big bucks.
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