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Betting for Value on the Turn

Let’s say you’ve flopped a reasonable hand like top pair, made a continuation bet, and your opponent called. The turn comes and it checks back to you. What do you do?

If you’re like many players, you’re probably going to check here. What if your hand isn’t good? What if the turn card made their draw or gave them a better hand?

At the end of the day, however, these doubts come from irrational fears. When you actually look at it, there’s a lot more reasons to value bet the turn than check. Plus, if you do get check-raised, you can always just fold.

Don’t Give Them a Free Card

There will be a lot of times in the spot where you have a fine hand and they will have a flush draw or a straight draw. They might have called your flop bet just to see what happens and hoping to get lucky, but how will they react to pressure on the turn?

Especially if you give them bad pot-odds by making a large bet, they’re going to have a hard time calling. Even if they do call, it’ll be a bad call and you’ll win chips on the river more often than not.

On the other hand, if you just checked back, then you’re letting them get there for free. If they have overcards, flush draws, straight draws, or any other hand that needs just one more card to beat yours, then checking lets them have a free look at that card. By betting here, you get to protect yourself against this possibility.

Keep the Heat Coming

It’s generally better to play an aggressive style of poker. Making bets gives your opponents a chance to fold and let you win the pot right then and there. Or, since you

have a fine hand that you were willing to bet on the flop, it’s still quite possible that your hand is still the best.

When you combine your fold equity with the value of your hand, it’s easy to keep the heat coming. Keep betting until they give you a reason to stop. If they start betting into you or check-raising you, don’t be afraid to lay down your hand, even if you have something like a pair of aces with a king kicker. Know when you’re beat and move on to the next pot.

But in the meantime, keep firing those bullets.

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