texas holdem guide

Turn is a very important Texas Holdem bidding round. In this phase the value of the bids has been raised so your mistakes will cost you more. What is more most of the players decide to call a relatively cheap bet on the flop, hoping for example, for an overcard, or a gut-shot-street. Now that the bets are raised and they have to pay the turn a one big bet, they will probably fold.

Your play on the turn should be clearer than on the flop. If you think you have a strong hand - bet, especially if you are worried about other players drawing hands e.g. flush or straight, and you want to protect your hand. While being sure that one of your opponents is going to bet you can even try using check-raise in order to protect your hand and make drawing more expensive. If you are a drawing player yourself, make sure that you have a sufficient level of pot odds or implied pot odds.

Below: drawing hand example

Middle-Late position

Several players are viewing the flop without raising.

You decided to call on the flop as a third player, which was a marginal bet considering the rightness of the opinion. Now it is for the turn to tell you what to do. The next seven or ace means raising the bet on the flop, a heart ( fourth to the flush) means calling. In other cases you have to fold.

In most drawing hands going for a strong flush, or a street you will have a sufficient level of odds to call. You should remember that if there is a pair on the board (cards available for everyone) you should have a guaranteed higher level of odds in order to continue the game. It is resulted in the fear of a possible full-house. If the turn is a third card in the flush you should give up drawing for the street.

In some situations, betting with a drawing card ( as in the example above) may be a good decision. Especially if you have one or two opponents, and you think that there is a chance that they will both fold. For example, a small pair with an overcard kicker combined with a possible flush draw may often be worth betting. If the opponent folds you have a chance of winning, and if not you have enough outs to win the river.

While thinking of the turn one must notice raising bets. In the present phase of the game you won’t raise on the turn as often as other players. That is because the strength of your hand has been reveled on the pre-flop and the flop and so others will decide to check on the turn.

Additionally many players decide to use slow-playing with a strong hand (e.g. trips)

When another player decides to raise on the turn it is generally hard to evaluate. For example, you have a top pair with a very good kicker or an overpair and the opponent decides to raise. By raising your opponent is trying to tell you that he is not afraid of your top pair. In this situation the key is to identify that player. If it’s a predictable, good player, for example a tight-aggressive or a rock, very-tight-passive player, you might as well acknowledge your failure and fold. If, however, the pot is high you can try leveling and then folding, but only if the river won’t strengthen your hand because in that case your opponent will definitely bet on the river. If the turn was a third flush card or if the board create a three connected hand the decision to fold will be more obvious and easier. However in many cases the decision won’t be obvious, and your knowledge of the opponent will be the key because if you fold every time another player raises on the turn and you have the highest pair with a kicker or an overpair its not a good solution. Every time before making the decision you must ask yourself what kind of player is your opponent. Is he a tight type? A loose type? Aggressive or passive? Maybe he is a notorious bluffer or maybe a rock?

It must be stressed however that in most cases even a big pocket pair (a pair of aces, kings or queens, without the support from the board) in multi-way pot situation, where more than two players are struggling for the pot, while there has been a raise on the turn, the highest pair isn’t the winning hand, and you have to think about whether or not to fold such a strong hand. These kind of decisions aren’t easy to make but proper evaluation of the situation enables you to minimalize your loses. One more time the motto from Lee Jonese’s book “winning by folding” becomes a truth worth repeating and remembering for all players.