Texas Holdem

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Holdem Poker

Betting Patterns

There are 2 basic modes in solid tight/aggressive poker and each is very simple. You just need to know when to be in each mode.

BULL: You are the strong, and plan to bet/raise until you believe your hand has been played strong enough. After that point you just call down. The only way you will ever fold as a bull is if it is 2 bets before it gets to you on the turn or river, and even then there is times you will call.

PAPER TIGER: You have an mediocre chance of winning the hand, but you play it just like bull because aggression is very important. But, If anyone plays back at you, you are probably going to fold. So what you do is take the lead up until the river and then check it for a free showdown if you are in position and check/call or check/fold if you are out of position.

eg. you have top pair weak kicker, they bet out to you on the flop, you raise, bet turn, check river. perfect. You just got the showdown cheap, and improved your chances of winning the hand by playing it aggressive also.

Below I will say exactly what to do in these situations. The "strength" of a hand is pretty much how many times you will bet after being raised. It is relatively straight forward, however, there are some times when I need to say "use judgement". And that is where some real poker skill comes into play along with knowing how the player plays. The difficulty of a hand is basically based on these judgement calls. Notice out the first out of position example has 2 "judgements" that is because playing out of position with a mediocre hand is very hard.

*many times below I assume they raise you, obviously if they do not raise you just finish out the hand betting all the way and on the river)

you will notice repetition of many concepts below and, hopefully, some underlying patterns

Top pair not great kicker
In position:
They bet you raise, then bet turn, and check river. If anywhere along that they play back you fold. they check you bet flop, bet turn, check river. If they do the random stop and go turn bet out you will have to use judgement whether to fold or raise.

Out of position: Bet out, if raised you have to use judgement. Otherwise, bet turn again, and then check call or check/fold based on your judgement.

Top pair great kicker
In position:
They bet you raise, they reraise, you cap. If they bet out again just call down, if they check bet turn and river. If they check-raise the turn and are a straight player fold, otherwise call down.

Out of position: Bet, get raised, reraise, if they cap just call them down. Otherwise keep betting until the river, and call down if raised on the turn.

Two pair weak kicker
In position:
In position: They bet, you raise, they reraise, you cap. If they bet turn out call them down unless they are overaggressive, then raise and call them down if reraised. If they check turn bet it out. If they check-raise turn call them down.

Out of position: You bet out, get raised, reraise, if capped, bet turn out and if raised call down.

Strong Two Pair
In position:
They bet, you raise, they reraise, you cap. If they bet turn out raise them and call down if reraised. they check, you bet, they raise, you reraise, they cap and bet out turn, you raise, if reraised call down. If check-raised on the turn call down.

Out of position: Bet out, get raised, reraise, if they cap check-raise the turn unless there is a flush draw on the board and the player is known for going too far with his "free turn card raise trick" then just bet out.

(Trips) Three of a kind when you don't have a pocket pair
In position: They bet, you raise, they reraise, you cap. If they bet the turn raise if you have a good kicker otherwise just call down, if reraised, cap with the best kicker otherwise call down. They check, you bet, they raise, you reraise, they cap and bet out turn, you raise, if reraised cap with best kicker otherwise call down.

Out of position: You bet, they raise, you reraise, they cap, check-raise the turn if you have a good kicker unless the player is known for going too far with his "free turn card raise trick", if reraised call down. If you do end up betting out and get raised reraise with a good kicker and call down with a poor one.

(Set) Three of a kind when you have a pocket pair
In position:
They bet, you raise, they reraise, you cap. If they bet turn out raise, if they reraise cap if only 1 trips higher is the only threat on the board, otherwise call down. They check, you bet, they raise, you reraise, they cap. If they bet turn out raise, if they reraise cap if 1 possible trips higher is the only threat on the board, otherwise call down.

Out of position: You bet, they raise, you reraise, if they cap check-raise the turn unless there is a flush draw on the board and the player is known for going too far with his "free turn card raise trick" then just bet out, if raised, reraise, if they cap call down. If you bet the turn out and get raised, reraise, if capped call down.

Straight
In position:
They bet, you raise, they reraise, you cap. If they bet turn out raise, if they reraise, cap. If they bet out the river and they are a straight player and there is a full house on the board just call. They check, you bet, they raise, you reraise, they cap. If they bet turn out raise, if they reraise, cap. If they bet out the river and they are a straight player and there is a full house on the board just call.

Out of position: You bet, they raise, you reraise, if they cap check-raise the turn unless there is a flush draw on the board and the player is known for going too far with his "free turn card raise trick" then just bet out, if raised, reraise, if they cap call down if a flush, higher straight, or full house is possible, otherwise obviously keep raising because you have the nuts.

Draws (open ended straight or flush draw and better)
In position:
They bet, you raise, if reraised, call. They check, you bet with intent on bluffing the turn with 1 player in or taking the free turn card with more than 1 player in.

Out of position: If you are in low limits check call, you want to get as many free cards as possible and you aren't going to bluff them out. If are you are playing decent limits and 3 or less players are in bet out your draw. If only 1 player is left on the turn bet again, and bet the river again if you think there is a decent chance they were on a draw that you can't beat otherwise. If 2 players are left check/call.

Texas Holdem Poker
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