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- Poker Strategies - The Opening Bet
The Opening Bet
A problem with a lot of poker players, particularly online, is that they simply don't know how they should bet when they the opening bet comes down to them. This can be an important moment because if you bet too low pre-flop you may allow some weaker hands to feel comfortable in entering the pot to see a flop. Even if you have the better hand pre-flop, this may not be the case once the flop comes out. For instance, if you limp in with pocket aces, somebody behind you may decide to go into the pot with a weak hand like low/middle suited one-offs, (5-7 diamonds for example.) If the flop then come out with two or three diamonds, or 4-6-8, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. There's a saying in poker- "Aces win small pots and lose big ones." While this is not always the case, it holds true more often than you might think, and here's why.
A player who's been dealt pocket aces pre-flop doesn't want to come right out and announce they've been dealt the best starting hand in hold-em by pushing all in right off the bat. They want to draw some players into the pot in order to capitalize on the situation. Some players will do this by limping in with pocket aces. This is a mistake. In fact, you should NEVER open limp into a pot. If you're the first one in the pot, always raise, never limp. It's like Chris Ferguson says, "If your hand is good enough to win with a limp, it should be good enough to win with a raise too." So, because so many players want so badly to draw more players into the pot against their aces, they might open limp, or even offer a low 2x bet, which leaves the door open for players who want to play decent low hands to come in, and possibly get lucky.
When playing a hand like pocket aces, you will almost always want to open up with a standard 3x bet or more. Hopefully this will leave you facing off against the types of hands you want to see in the pot with you, over cards like JK, Q10, JQ. Allowing too many people into the pot only raises the chances that somebody might manage to out-draw you and render your aces worthless.
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