Time to Bet, Time to Fold

Knowing when to bet and knowing when to fold is one of the most important parts of good Texas Holdem strategy. The time to bet and time to fold depend on a variety of factors including your starting hand, the plays of your competitors and whether or not you are playing a tight or loose game.

The first thing to think about when deciding whether to bet or to fold is your starting hand. Some starting hands are better than others and you should almost always raise in the pre-flop when you receive them. These include royal pairs (A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J), Aces paired with face cards of the same suit (A-K, A-Q, A-J made up of all hearts, diamonds, spades or clubs), and unsuited Ace-King combinations. The possibilities of getting a high-ranking poker hand with these starting cards is good, so you should always bet with these hands.

On the other hand, you should probably fold if you are dealt one of the worst Texas Holdem starting hands. For instance, an unsuited 2-7 is the absolute worst hand you can get -our odds of using these cards in a high-ranking 5-card hand are slim to none. Aces and Face cards unsuited and paired with low cards are also bad hands. When you have one of the worst Texas Holdem hands it is often worthwhile to fold right of the bat, so you won't lose money on your bets.

You also need to take your competitors into consideration when deciding whether to bet or fold. If it seems like your competitors all have lousy hands then you may want to call or raise. On the other hand, if it seems like your competitors have great hands then it may be time to fold. This also depends on whether you are playing a tight or lose game. In a tight game you will play by the books, raising, calling and folding based on probabilities. On the other hand, if you are playing a loose game then you may raise on weaker cards, going for luck over odds.