When you play Texas Holdem there are certain plays that you do almost every hand and are very common. These are calling, raising, re-raising and folding and you will be very familiar with these plays after playing Texas Holdem for the first time. If these are the plays that you limit yourself to in Texas Holdem then you’re not playing to the best of your ability. There are a few other bets that you should make on special occasions and these bets need to be made in moderation. There is a chance for some of them to lose you chips if you do it too often, but for the most part these are special plays that take down pots 80% of the time, and you’ve probably seen other players using these plays without even noticing it.
A check-raise is when you re-raise over somebody else, only after the flop has happened. You could also wait to use the check-raise until later in the hand, but by doing this you allow the person to either scare you off of your hand or outdraw you on the turn and river. If you hit your cards on the flop and have a good hand and you’re one of the first to act on the table then you should just check it. Now you hope that someone else decides to make the initial bet, and the goal is to have the most amounts of people call this bet. Now when it comes back around to you, you should react by check-raising his bet. This is a play that could backfire when you don’t have a good hand, but it could also get you a lot of extra chips that weren’t in the pot initially. Generally when you raise the pot most players will fold, and if some don’t then after the next community card you should come out betting this time instead of checking.
A semi-bluff may sound like it is something confusing to understand, but it’s actually very simple strategy to learn. A semi-bluff is simply when you make a bet without a hand, but with options. The two obvious options are straight and flush which are the two easiest hands to hit. If you have an open ended straight draw or a flush draw then you could lead out betting after the flop to see if you get any action. Sometimes everyone will fold their cards to you, and sometimes you may actually get a caller or two. If you’re called in this situation then you need to see if your card hits on the turn. If it doesn’t then you need to decide if you should bet or check, but if you check the other player or players will most likely bet. If you place another small bet in the pot you may be able to take the pot down, and if someone calls this time then you can be sure they have something. So if you’re called on the turn and your hand doesn’t hit on the river then you’re only option is to check/fold. If you do hit your straight or flush then you can bet an amount that the opponent will still want to call, and then take the chips.
If you’re on a draw after the flop and you want to see the river for the cheapest possible amount and you’re in late position then you possibly can get a free card. What you have to do is if everyone checks the flop to you, you need to come out and make a small bet. Either everyone will fold and you take down the pot with only a draw, or you get a caller or two who may have a pair or something. Now typically after the turn the remaining players will check it to you, and here you can decide if you want to bet again or just check to see if your draw hits. This is a good way to see the river card for free, and the cheapest method to seeing all the community cards in hopes of hitting your hand.
These are excellent strategies that you need to make sure you’re utilizing when playing Texas Holdem. It could be the difference between winning and losing some tournaments, and you can bet people are using these special betting tactics on you. Start taking control of your chip stack and use these bets every once in a while to increase your chips and move up the ladder.