Main Menu
No.(2) (3) (4)
No.(5) (6) (7)
No.(8) (9) (10)
No.11 12 13
No.14 15 16
No.17 18 19
No.20 21 22
No.23 24 25
No.26 27 28
No.29 30 31
No.32 33 34
No.35 36 37
In Association with
Play now at the William Hill Casino
  | Home   | Index   | Info   | This Week   | Poker   | News   | Email
03/03/2006 No.37
he Guardian Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Friday March 3, 2006
How to play poker
(How to play has been running from issue 16)

Last week, I mentioned "taking a free card". This is one of the benefits of raising pre-flop in late position: other players are more likely to check to you on the flop, giving you the choice of betting or checking to see the turn.

Generally, if you have raised before the flop, you should bet again after the flop. If your first raise said, "I've got the best hand," your flop bet should say, "I've still got the best hand." But there are certain situations where you might prefer not to bet again.


Let's say you have raised on the button with Q J. The flop comes 9 Ace 10 `A and everybody checks to you. The chances are, you do not have the best hand right now. Somebody has probably got a pair. Somebody might even have a big hand like AQ, and is trying to trap you with a check-raise. But you have picked up a straight draw. If you had missed the flop completely, and your hand was so weak that you wanted to drive opponents away, you could happily bet out and try to get rid of them. In that situation, if anybody check-raised, you could just throw your rubbishy hand away.

But with a straight draw, it would be very annoying to get raised. You don't want to throw your hand away. You really want to see the next card. So why risk making it too expensive? If you sense opposition in the air, you can simply check, and try to pick up a straight for free.

You might also check if your hand is particularly strong. Let's say the flop is `Q Q 3. If you bet here, with your QJ, you are likely to kill your action. In this situation, you might choose to give a free card, in the hope that an opponent will make two pair and get stubborn.

Besides, you want to mix up your play. Opponents won't believe that you like every flop just because you raised beforehand. Having raised pre-flop, you should bet the flop more than half the time. But if you always do the same thing, that's the fastest route to becoming "readable".