The Turn: Basic Play
We've seen the flop, and now we are still around after the flop's betting round. Now what? Now we are ready to see the turn. The turn card, sometimes referred to as "4th street," is the fourth community card to be played in a hand of Texas Hold 'Em.
It's extremely important to repeatedly stress to new players to No Limit Texas Hold 'Em that with all decisions, the following criteria should always be considered:
- What's the value of my hand?
- What types of opponents am I facing?
- What's my position? (First to act, last to act, etc.)
- Who did what? (Who's raised? Who called? Who had to make a tough decision? Who just wants a good reason to fold?)
Now, since we've made it to the turn card, we should have already considered all of these things and therefore, we can just start making guesses as to what to do next, right? Wrong. Each time new cards come into play the whole dynamics of the hand has changed, and with the dealing of the Turn card, it's no different. It's time to re-examine those questions as well as come up with some new ones.
In the next Chapter we'll be focusing more on the basic strategy involved with playing the turn. Right now, however, let's stay focused on just the Basic play. You've already been through two betting rounds (Pre-Flop and Flop). By the time the Turn is dealt, you should already have some good information about what your opponents might be holding and what they might be looking for from the deck. With that in mind, more questions arise after the turn is dealt:
- Did the Turn increase or decrease your chances of winning?
- Did the Turn card give your opponent(s) a reason to see the river card?
- Can I use the Turn card to fool my opponent(s)?
- Should I bet, raise, or call when it's my turn to act?
These are not easy questions, so don't get frustrated if there aren't easy answers. Remember, most of the time your opponents are wondering the same things you are. This is a game of patience so don't dwell on one card. If there's one card in the deck that you absolutely do NOT want to see come up on the Turn, and it does, then check. If someone bets, fold. Don't make it so hard on yourself, but don't forget to keep asking yourself questions about your opponent's motives. It's a long game, and if it's not worth putting money into the center, don't. The Turn card can be your best friend, your worst enemy, or just some hitchhiker you pass on the side of the road at 80 miles per hour.