Playing The Turn
In limit Texas Hold’em the Turn is the turning point in the hand. The betting limits are doubled and you have seen 86 % of your final hand. With one card to come you now have a big decision to make whether to play or fold. Many times if you call on the Turn you will also end up calling the river. Marginal hands that could be abandoned on the Turn could end up as costly hands on the River if you lose. In an unrasied pot a bet on the Turn costs you the same as the Pre-flop and the Flop bet added together.
This is the time to start looking at the pot odd to determine if it will be profitable to continue. Since the betting limits double on the turn the pot odds are now cut in half. In a 3/6 game if there were $30 in the pot you would be getting 10:1 odds on a $3 bet. Now that the bets are $6 you are only getting 5:1. You might not be getting the correct odds to stay in with a drawing hand. For example, if you get to the turn and you are trying to draw to an inside straight you only have four outs. The odds are 10.5 against you. If you are only getting 5:1 in pot odds and you should give it up.
The Best Hand
I ran a computer simulation to determine how often the best hand at the Turn held on to be the winning hand. In a field of 10 low limit players the best hand at the Turn held up about 79 % of the time. With the addition of the turn card there are more possible hands that can be made by the cards on the board. This is where your board reading skills will be important. You want to know where your hand ranks compared to the best possible hand that can be made from the board. It's impossible to cover every situation but there are a few general guidelines for playing your hand on the turn
If you have an open-ended straight or flush draw you want to see the river as cheaply as possible. In this instance it is usually best to check. If someone bets and it is raised you can get out without putting any money in the pot. If there is no raise and there are three or more players you can call the bet because you should be getting correct odds to do so.
If you think you have the best hand after seeing the Turn card and are first to act, then go ahead and bet. Many players will try to get fancy and attempt to check raise in this position. If the other players also check, you have lost a bet or two. In low limit games the straight forward approach is usually the best as there are plenty of players who will call you. Make them pay. Why give them a free card if you don’t have to.
If you were planning to bet you will call a bet made before it is your turn to act. This doesn't mean however that you will automatically call a raise. First you must consider who made the raise and what position they are in. If another player raises on the turn from early position it usually means they have a strong hand.
If another player raises on the turn and you hold only one pair you are more than likely beaten and should fold. If there are three suited cards or cards that can likely make a straight on the board
If you get to the Turn and you hold only two unsuited overcards (two cards higher that any cards on the board) with no flush or straight draw, then you should fold if there is a bet in front of you. Too much money is lost by players who hope to catch a miracle card on the river. The best hand you can make with two unsuited overcards is a pair which will probably lose anyways.
If another player raises on the turn and you hold less than the top pair you are more than likely beaten and should fold.
If you have two pairs or better and think you have the best hand then you should raise. This will get more money in the pot and hopefully narrow the field for you. If you only have top pair and a player bets into you, that means they are not afraid of top pair. You should not raise in this situation. It is better to just call and see what the river card brings.
Make Your Best Decision
More money is lost by losing players who are looking for a miracle on the River. Don't play wish hands or hands where you may drawing dead. (Drawing dead is when you make your hand but are still beaten. A winning player knows how to release a marginal hand and the turn is definitely the time to do it.
Until Next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.