Playing The Turn

Betting Rounds: Before The Flop : Flop : Flop Hands : Turn : River

How To Play The Turn

So, you made it past the flop eh?

The turn in Texas Hold'em is easily one of the most forgotten about streets in the game. It all seems a lot easier to tag it as some useless betting round in between the flop and river, but that's not going to win you any money now is it?

The turn is equally as important as any of the other betting rounds (believe it or not), and so it requires good strategy and a careful approach to get the most from it. Here are some solid tips to bring your turn strategy up to scratch.

Playing the turn in Texas Hold'em.

Here is a gem of information for you... you should always put as much effort into making your decision on the turn as you did on the flop. If you can actually manage to put this advice into action, you will have already raised your game for turn play, without me actually giving you any tips. However, it wouldn't be much of an article if I stopped there, so I will continue.

Your biggest asset on the turn is going to be your ability to analyze the situation, and consider how the turn card will have affected the hand for both you and your opponent. You should ask yourself questions like:

  • What does your opponent think of that card?
  • Do you think it helps them based on their action on the flop?
  • Does your opponent think that card helped you?
  • Is that card more scary for you or your opponent?

If you can really think about each of these points, you will definitely improve your decision making skills. So the next time you are on the turn, instead of closing your eyes and hoping for the best, grab the bull by the horns and start thinking about the cards and how to best play the hand.

Don't throw away your money by not putting enough effort into your turn play, use your head!

Acting First On The TurnActing first on the turn.

You are confident you have the winning hand.

In general, if you think you have the best hand you should bet out. This will build the pot and give your opponent bad odds if they have a drawing hand and you make a decent bet size.

You know you have a losing hand.

Your main plan of action should be to check and fold to any action. If you fired a continuation bet on the flop it is going to be very tempting to fire another bet in the hopes of winning the pot. However, you need to be very, very confident that this play will work. If not, check and fold to any bet.

You have a drawing hand.

If you were not the first to bet on the flop with a flush or straight draw, a bet here will look suspicious. So simply check and hope that you have the pot odds to play on if your opponent bets.

If you did bet out with your draw on the flop, betting out again is a perfectly viable option. However, this should only be done if you feel that you could extract a lot more money from your opponent when you flush hits, and that there is a fair chance your bet could force them to fold.

You are not sure of whether you are winning or not.

Ouch, never a pretty situation. Betting is too dangerous, so check and hope that you see the next card for free. Having a lack of information on any street in Hold'em is dangerous.

Playing big pots with little information on your opponent is going to lose you money over the long run.

A point to remember though... what are you doing on the turn in first position when you have no idea where you stand? Try and avoid getting into situations where you are unclear of where you are when possible.

Acting Last On The TurnActing last on the turn.

You are confident you have the winning hand.

If your opponent checks, you bet. If your opponent bets, you raise. Basically, on the turn your opponent still has the opportunity to improve their hand, so try and milk them as much as you can. If your opponent doesn't improve on the river, you are not going to be able to get any more money from them.

You know you have a losing hand.

Again, you want to play passively here and check when checked to and fold when bet into. You could always try a bluff here, but unless you are confident that it will be a success, I wouldn't take the risk.

You have a drawing hand.

This is an interesting situation. In this spot, I would check if I did not bet on the flop. However, if I bet on the flop I would continue with this action and bet the turn. By doing so we give our opponent the opportunity to fold, whilst building the pot for a bigger win if we hit.

You are not sure of whether you are winning or not.

Pretty straight forward, check and see what happens on the river. You are unlikely to be doing yourself any favors by trying a bluff here. Play it safe.

Playing the turn overview.

To be honest, this article was difficult to write. With each of the quick pointers above, there was so much that I could write for each situation that it was very hard to keep this article at this length. Always remember that there are a lot of factors involved in any poker decision, so use what I have outlined here as a very rough guide to help you.

But anyway, as I said, put effort into playing the turn and you will be rewarded.

Also, don't forget to bet out if you used the float play on the flop boys and girls.

Playing a hand.

Go back to the sublime Texas Hold'em guide.

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