When you are given a hand in which you are quite confident, it might be the ideal time to demonstrate some aggressive betting.
This can encourage weaker or less confident players to fold, thereby narrowing the field of opponents, but be warned – unless you have the highest possible value hand (i.e. a Royal Flush), there are hands that can beat yours, and a player with an equally strong hand can easily up the ante at this point.
When you are gifted with a sketching hand
A drawing hand is one that is not yet complete, meaning the player is dependent on more community cards to form a profitable combination. Consider yourself to be one or more cards short of a combination such as a flush or straight.
In this circumstance, odds are critical. Assume the player has two diamonds on their hole cards and the flop contains two diamonds. We know that a deck has a total of 13 diamond cards, which indicates that there are now 9 unearthed diamonds in the deck. These are referred to as call outs.
The ratio of the remaining cards in the deck (52 minus those previously dealt) to the cards we want to land (those 9 diamonds) is 38:9, or a more manageable 4:1. In this situation, the probability of landing a diamond flush is 4 to 1. If the odds of winning the pot are greater than the probabilities of getting the required cards, calling is the more advantageous long-term strategy.
The significance of maintaining a poker face
Poker is a game that is as much about the players as it is about the cards. Players’ behavior is an excellent sign of how they feel about the power of their hands and may be used to forecast their next move to a certain extent. The phrase ‘poker face’ is apt for a reason : limiting your opponents’ options can benefit you later.
Bluffing is the art of altering other players’ perceptions of the hand you are currently holding. This can be accomplished by wagering. Aggressive betting creates the illusion of a powerful hand, which may or may not be the fact. The goal is to convince one or more opponents to fold, hence decreasing the number of players battling for the pot.
Late position players are in the ideal position to employ these poker strategies because they can exert pressure on other players, who will have bet previously, providing hints as to the potential worth of their cards and the aggressiveness with which they will bet moving ahead.
A semi-bluff is a strategy used to gain time until the following card is drawn. On one round, the player will bluff with a drawing or weak hand, applying pressure to opponents while allowing the next card to be drawn and perhaps completing the player’s hand favorably. Additionally, semi-bluffing might lead other players to fold promptly, providing the player a greater overall probability of winning.
This is the polar opposite of bluffing. Whereas a bluffing player makes a large wager when their cards are not very powerful, a slow play makes a little stake that creates the illusion of weak cards when they are actually rather good.
The goal here is to entice opponents to raise when they may have folded otherwise due to their assumption that the player has a bad hand. However, slow play has some hazards. It does not defend against players whose hands improve, and it also has the potential to reduce the amount of money put into a pot if an opponent checks.