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Middle Round Strategy

There is play concepts of having a plan when playing any particular hand of poker. There is a reason for your playing your hand in some specific way.

Even expert players sometimes play a hand poorly but they always have some reason for playing it the way they did. It is not true for less experienced players.

In the earlier essay, it has already been discussed the play of betting when all the cards are out. There are usually two possible reasons to make this play. The first reason would be to try to get a worse hand to call. The second reason is to try to get a better hand to fold.

If it is not likely that a bet will accomplish either of these goals then you should check. As long as all the cards are out.

When there are more cards to come, however, it is a different matter. While two above mentioned reasons still apply, there are two other important reasons to consider betting:

•  To avoid giving the rival a free card.

•  To create a false impression for future betting rounds.

It occurs when your hand is little better than your rival's, but he will only call you in those rare cases where his hand is better. You should bet in that case if there are more cards to come to avoid giving him a free card to outdraw you.

For example, in seven card stud you make an open pair of aces on the fifth card which gives you two pair. You should bet even if you think your rival has only a pair and will not call your bet, unless he has aces up beaten.

Your check would give him a chance to make three of a kind on the next card. It would be correct to check only if there were no more cards to come.

The second reason to bet occurs in an early round of seven card stud or seven card lowball. It may be right to bet a hand that you know better or even worse than your rivals' so as to create an impression that may help you on a later round.

For example, in seven card lowball (razz), it is correct to bet an ace, deuce showing on the fourth card when your rival is showing. Suppose a nine and seven, even when you have a hidden pair of deuces. You have

and your rival has

You should bet here even though you expect to get called. By betting you show no weakness which will help you steal the pot if you catch another "baby."

By betting, you have shown strength which may allow you to steal the pot on a future round if you catch another low card showing.

The same situation can occur in seven card stud, where you have two red deuced in the hole and are showing the eight and nine of spades. Betting on your part is correct even if you think your rival will call you sometimes with what seems to be a medium poker pair. This is because there are many cards you can catch on a later round which will make him fold. Suppose you have

And your rival has

If your rival checks, bet. If he bets you should consider a raise. You have many "scare cards" that you can catch that will make him fold on a later round of betting.

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