Poker: Betting Yourself Out of Trouble

In poker you’ll sometimes find yourself in a situation you just shouldn’t be in, and you’ll need to find a way out of it. That almost always means betting your way out of it with smart bets that can convince your opponent that you have the best hand. Trouble spots can come in many forms, each requiring a different bet to get you out of your jam. Betting yourself out of trouble isn’t really a strategic move as much as it is a desperation move, but it can still come in handy to know how to possibly get out of a bad hand.

A common trouble situation occurs when you attempt to steal the blinds and get numerous callers. Let’s say you decide to try and steal the blinds from a middle position with a hand like 10-9 suited. Now you’re in a situation with a mediocre hand and three or more opponents to play against. Unless you hit the flop in a big way, one or more of these players will most likely be ahead of you. With your pre-flop raise, and all the callers that came into the hand, the pot will be big enough to keep your interest.

As the blind raiser your opponents will look to you to make the first bet on the flop, and you could be just dumping more chips to a player who may decide to check-raise you with their hand. Not betting will tell the other players that you missed the flop, and will open the hand up for one of them to bet out. If you do check the flop, and a player bets out, a good size raise can often pick up the pot for you. It will appear to that player that you were trapping them when you checked the flop, and now you’re making your move after they put some chips in the middle.

If you decide to make a continuation bet on the flop and you get called, you can still bet your way out of the hand if a big card comes on the turn or river. If the player called your flop bet they’ve likely hit the flop or have a draw. If the turn or river card is an ace or king, you can represent that you have the big cards that it looks like you have in the eyes of your opponents. They will think they’ve been outdrawn and will get off the hand if the bet is big enough. Just make sure that the king or ace didn’t complete any possible draws that the board may have presented. Your chances of getting them off the hand will greatly decrease if it does.

Putting more money into a hand that you shouldn’t be in at all is not a recommended practice. But if the situation is right you can convince your opponents that you have a big hand, and that they should get out of your way. Don’t count on this type of play working every time, but it can make a big difference in a session if you have one successful play like this.