Whether you’re playing in an online poker game game or live at a casino you have to be unpredictable. These are three effective poker strategies that will keep your opponents guessing about your game.
Slow playing strong hands:
Slow playing is when you check or call instead of betting or raising with a winning hand. You disguise the strength of your hand in order to maximize the payoff. Usually you slow play on the flop and pick up the pace on the turn or the river where the bets are doubled. However, this tactic should not be used recklessly. A lot of poker players slow play with too many hands and lose a lot of money because of this. There are times when you should avoid slow playing even though your hand is very strong:
When a free card might beat you.
When a free card is not likely to give another player a second-best hand.
When the pot is large.
When there are many players still in the hand.
Check-raising is used when you’re sitting in early or middle position with really good cards. Instead of betting you check in the hopes that one of your opponents will make a bet. If someone does, you raise. A well timed check-raise is very effective. If an opponent in late position has tried to steel the pot by bluffing he or she will surely fold.
Players with drawing hands like over cards and gut-shot straight draws might find it too expensive to call. Strong draws (flush draws and open-ended straight draws) will probably call, but this doesn’t mean your play was useless. Thanks to your check-raise you have a good idea about what you´re up against. If the draws don´t hit you will win a big pot.
Semi-Bluffing with draws:
A Semi-Bluff is when you bet, raise or re-raise with a hand that isn´t likely to be the best at the moment but has a good chance to improve. Straight or flush draws are typical hand to make semi-bluffs with. Your primary aim is to win the hand right away, but even if you are called you might still hit your draw and take home the pot.