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Pokerteam articles 11

Basic Betting Strategy

If people only know one thing about Online Poker it is that it involves betting. Regardless of the Online Poker Games you play, basic betting strategy will feature prominently.

Knowing basic betting strategy will help you from being carried away by. After all a silly bet can see all your chips disappear in one foul swoop so only bet if you are also prepared to lose them. In online poker this tends to happen a lot. All your hours of hard work and discipline devoted to online poker strategy can be eradicated with a single moment of madness.

Overall there are five betting actions but at any one time there are only a maximum of three. The five choices are: To bet, fold, call, check or raise.

What do each of those mean?

Bet - You are the first person in the hand to bet something.

Fold - You decline to have any further part in the hand.

Call- You are seeing someone else’s bet.

Check - You decline to do anything but you are still in the hand. You can only do this if no-one before you has already bet.

Raise - You raise what the previous bet was to stay in the hand.

Given all this what is the right thing to do at the right time. Remember that not only your cards are a factor in your decision making process but your position and chip stack is as well.

When would you bet?

You would bet when you have a good hand but don’t want to scare everyone away with a massive bet. If something thinks you are bluffing they may raise you which is great. Or you would bet if you have an ok hand and want to get rid of any players who if they hang around may win. See why poker is so complicated - the exact same action can mean two entirely opposite things.

When would you call?

You have an ok hand and it could get better. You have a great hand and are slow-playing it.

When would you raise?

You want to scare everyone out of the hand. You feel the other guy is bluffing. You have a great hand.

Why would you fold?

You are not going to win the hand or the chances of improving are too low.

When would you check?

Your hand is so-so and if everyone else is checking why not.

You want to check-raise.

What is the Check-Raise?

The check raise is a move where you deliberately check in the hope that someone after you will bet and you in turn will raise. You should only ever do this when you have a very strong hand otherwise you risk losing a lot of chips. Beware though that your opponent may bet in the same hope that someone raises him. If that happens you will probably both be risking all your chips and it comes down to who has the better hand.

Don’t Be Predictable

You don’t want your players to peg you as a certain type of player so vary the way you play and the way you bet. If you don’t your opponents will have a lock on you and know how to play you. Losing some hands isn’t a bad ploy because it can make you be under-estimated later on.


The fact that the button moves around every hand is one of the reason why poker is the exciting game it is. But if you know that the tight players are sitting in late position that is a time where you can steal the blinds. Similarly if the loose guys are early you can capitalize on that as well. You always need to factor in the position with the player’s personality when making a decision.

Ask yourself some questions

Just like Dirty Harry when you opponents do something you should try to understand why they did so. What does online poker strategy suggest to you? Are they normally this aggressive? What say does the size of their chip stack have? Is this a bluff or not? If it’s not a bluff, is your hand good enough to beat his?

William Atkins - Poker Stategist
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