Poker Desperation Bets

Earlier in the section, we discussed that on fourth street the correct holdem strategy is to often bet holdem hands with no outs and to check hands with outs. A related play rarely occurs on the flop, and it is called as desperation bets.

There are situation which occurs wherein you have a good chance to make the best poker hand and that everyone has fold if you bet. Even if you don't have the best hand, there is still some chance of improvement. You should often go ahead and bet.
For example, you call a raise from the big blind with a hand like

And the flop comes

and are against only two rivals. You can see that you have the best holdem hand and that you are getting 6-to-1 from the pot if everyone folds. You should go ahead and bet with a pair. But if you are raised then your correct play would be to fold. Even if someone only calls, just check on the next round. (Against bad player you would automatically call on the flop with a gut-shot straight draw, but who would now fold on the turn, it can be correct to bet once again.)

Waiting to Raise

It is sometime better to wait till the river before showing any aggression. This normally occurs when only a small number of players have taken the flop, and you flop with good hand but not the great one, but one that you still consider to be very strong for the situation.

Suppose you started with

You raised before the flop, only the player in the big blind called and the flop comes

Surprisingly he bets into you. (The reason is that with his flop and only one rival you would automatically bet.) The right approach is to just call on the flop and fourth street and later raise on the river.

But why is it correct? "Conventional wisdom" says to get the raise in right away and the aggressive player will do exactly that. But there are other good reasons to play for this hand as we have discussed earlier.

First reason is that you have to consider what type of hand your rival is holding. If he is bluffing, he might bet out again in the expectation that you will fold. If you raise, then he will simply throw away his hand and you will lose the opportunity to contribute money by collecting more bets from him.

If he is betting middle pair he is likely to have five outs assuming he is not sharing your kicker. By raising, he will call your raise, but will fold on the turn if he doesn't draw out. Though by calling, he is likely to bet again on the turn and check and call on the river. Because of the small pot, you find no objection to his staying in with only five outs.

If he has an ace with a weaker kicker he may easily bet all the way (with only three outs) and you will get him for an extra big bet on the river. But by raising he might throw away his hand or revert to check and call strategy.

And last, if he has a big hand such as ace or tens or a set, the strategy to wait till the river to raise will save money as the earlier raise would result in his re-raise.

This leads to another significant point. Many players with a good hand would be fast enough to re-raise you on either the flop or the turn. However, many of these would not re-raise on the river because they will fear that you have slow-played a "monster."

The same piece of advice applies when you are absolutely sure that your rival is on a flush draw. Normally, in short-handed situations, it is difficult to be confident that your rival is on a flush draw. But you can sometimes run into someone who is quick to bet their draws but who will check-raise with their best holdem hands (including big pair) and check and call with their average hands. if you know your rival very well and you feel that this is the case, it is correct to wait on the fourth street to get the raise in. The perception of raising immediately to get maximum value on the flop is literally wrong.

If the flush card comes on the turn, you will be happy that you didn't raise. However, if the blank hits, your rival is likely to bet again expecting you to fold. As you haven't raise on the flop he will not give you credit for holding a good hand and might feel that one more bet would force you to fold. Now you can raise and get him for two double size bets when is a 4-to-1 shot against two single bets when he is a 2-to-1 shot.


From the beginning, we have greatly emphasized that Texas hold'em is a very sophisticated game. This can be noticed from the various topics discussed in this texas holdem site so far. It is in fact correct to say that no instructional hold'em site can cover all the things only because so many hands are completely different from themselves.

One more thing to consider is that you should almost avoid playing similar hands the same way every time. This is because such variation helps to throw off the better players. However, as stated earlier, a lot of deception is not necessary against the weaker players. When this is the situation, solid play is generally the best. It will give you more amount of money.

Also, many holdem strategies we have discussed are correct only when the situation and/or conditions are right. Do not allow yourself to fall into trap only of making a lot of great plays just to make great plays. Your main aim is to win more money and not to impress the players sitting at the table.

This is a crucial point. Many best players become the victim of unimaginative players. Yet, in most of the holdem games, this is the best holdem strategy for contributing money on a continuous basis.

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