So, you find yourself not knowing whether to raise, fold or call and you aren’t sure what to do, consider these thoughts.
How many people are in the hand?
Did any of them raise? How many checked? How many called? If all checked and you are the last to act – that makes a big difference.
What position are you in? Are you first or last to act? If you are in the middle and two or three players made their actions, then look at the other players in the hand. Are they holding chips in the hand so they can bet? Are they fumbling with their cards?
Pot odds –
How much money is in the pot? Is it worth your time to go after the money in the middle? If not, consider the strength of your hand and consider folding unless you really believe you can win the hand.
Drawing to a hand?
If you need three cards to make your hand – fold. If you need two cards to make your hand – consider folding unless there isn’t much action or it’s going to cost you very little to see the next card. If you need one more card then consider this – If you bet really big, the other players will think you have something better than what they have. You could end up with the entire pot at that point or maybe a few callers. When you see the next card and it’s what you need bet small to get callers but only if you have the nuts. If you don’t get the card you needed then bet big again as long as the other players won’t think of it as a continuations bet.
Do you have the nuts with one or more cards to go?
Should you bet small to get callers or bet big to get paid off? It’s all about the feel of the table at this point. I usually check and act weak waiting for someone to bet the max or go all in.
Have you been watching the other players?
Some players sit back in their chairs when they have a big hand and stare at the pot. Some sit forward and shuffle their checks when they have a monster hand. Watch what they do and you could be rewarded. So, if you have a hand and the guy next to you is sitting back in his chair and not paying attention – does he have it or not? Watch the other players intently. Learning to master poker online requires perseverance and willingness to learn. Watching some YouTube videos can be a great start up.
Are you the big blind?
Did you get a big blind special of junk cards and get a junk flop? This is where you should see how the betting unfolds and how the other players react. If you flopped a straight with junk cards, be quick to bet big here. You want to scare off the guys with a slightly bigger drawing hand than you.
Have you been watching the other players that aren’t in the hand?
Have you ever seen the guys fall into their chair after seeing the flop knowing that they had the buts at that point? That usually means that the big hand you should be concerned about is out and you have a chance. Feel free to bet if you have any kind of a hand.
Are you holding pocket jacks and the other guy has an ace?
Then two aces hit the board? Trip aces are a monster and if you watch the players eyes. If the stare at the flop they usually have it. If they go back and look at their cards, they don’t. When you have a pocket pair and two over cards hit the flop- watch their eyes for your answer.
If you watch players betting habits when they have a hand it can tell you a lot. Some players methodically count out their chips when they have an hand and then they put big stacks out without counting when they are bluffing. Watch players betting habits to help you in the hand.
These are tips that I generated while playing in home games and card rooms. Maybe one tip can help or maybe all of them.