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The Turn Bet

22/01/2020 by Alexander Fitzgerald
Hand Analysis

Imagine you are in this situation:

You have T9. You are in the big blind. It’s folded to the cutoff. He’s a young guy. You’re in a $235 live event in Vegas. He seems modest. He wears a plain tee and normal jeans. He seems educated about the game, but he’s not lording his talents over others. He seems to be a well-adjusted guy in his late 20’s.

He raises to 2.5X. You call from the big blind. You’re both 50 big blinds deep. The board comes QT5. You check. He checks. The turn is a 7. What is your move?

You can justify a bet here or a check, but you need to know why you would do either move. What is the most important thought when you are in this situation?

An important thing to consider is, “are you planning to fire turn and river?” The problem with being out of position is that our opponent gets to act after us. The other problem with being out of position is that we often cap our range if we check. Let’s say you bet the turn. He calls. The river comes the two of clubs. You don’t like the flush coming in, so you check.

You just told the guy you don’t have a flush. Most people would bet their flush there. You told him you don’t have two pair or better, because you’d likely bet that as well. The guy now knows that you have one pair or a missed draw.

If you think the guy is checking back on that flop with a bunch of fives, 8-8, 9-9, and ace highs and you think he’s loose enough to call twice with those hands, then fire twice.

If that seems a little thin to you, then check. Most good players will check back on that flop with decent pairs, some slowplayed hands, and a couple of high cards. They’ll fire once with their bluffs, but then leave it at that. You give him a chance to fire with nothing on the turn, and you can fold if he fires the river.

You just need to have an idea of what you’re doing when you bet the turn. Every tournament you play you’ll see people haplessly bet the turn with even a five there and have no idea what to do on the river. Picture likely river cards and ask yourselves what he’d call with. If you feel it’s a little thin, check and let him fire. Most guys don’t have it in them to fire an absolute bluff on the river when the pot is so small.