Take The ‘Free Card’ at Low Limit Holdem

Certain advanced poker strategies used by pros have been well written upon, but many players seem to forget the exact poker situations described and tend to use certain tactics in the wrong game. The ‘free card’ poker play in Holdem is a perfect example of a strategy that should be used more often in a loose passive low limit game and less in tournaments or no-limit sessions.

The ‘free card’ poker play in Holdem is when a late position player bets or raises on the flop with a drawing hand in an attempt to show strength and to get the other players to check after the turn card is dealt. If the strategy works, the player then has the option of not putting any more bets in the pot on the next ‘free’ card (which is ideal when on a draw that needs to hit to win).

Low limit Holdem games are categorized as ‘show down’ games since many players will stay in the hand until the river and showdown. Straight forward play works better at these tables as most opponents won’t be paying attention to your extra aggression or attemts at trickery. If players are likely to bet into you regardless of your play on previous betting rounds, raising in hopes of getting a cheap or free card will obviously not work. Since betting with a draw only has value when opponents will actually fold on occasion or as a strategy to get them to check to you, the semi-bluff should be attempted less often in loose games and checking in turn with hopes to hit your draw is suggested.

In tournaments where players are considering their stack size and survival, along with no-limit games where bluffs can be more successful, bets on a draw can be carried through with much more success and results. Many one-pair hands will fold when facing pot-sized bets or bigger and the likelyhood that your foes will muck hands like these should always carry weight when considering if you should wait to hit your draw or fire again in hopes to win immediately.

Concept Example : You raise with AsKs in late position after four players entered the pot, the big blind and the other four limpers call, so 6 of you see the flop for two bets each. The flop comes down 6c, 8s, Qd. It is checked to you, you bet and get 3 callers. The turn is the 2c.

With this type of board a tournament player will often consider making another big bet after the turn card. You can win by eventually hitting your outs or by getting the others to fold their hands. At the low limit tables however, checking is the suggested play since players will likely call down with any pair to the end in a pot that size when facing cheap limit bets.

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