Texas Hold ’em – Playing the Turn
In Texas Hold ’em, the turn is the fourth communal card, placed face-up after the second round of betting. If you’re still playing at this stage, it means you played the flop – which should also mean that you’re holding a good hand or a promising draw.
Often, the single card that comes up in the turn isn’t going to help your hand. However, if it doesn’t hurt your hand and does weaken an opponent’s, it can still stand you in good stead. Also, you can still hope for a card that will rescue you at the river – the fifth and final community card that will be added to the table.
Tips for Playing the Turn
At the turn, it’s generally best to go with betting rather than calling or raising a check – provided you don’t think an opponent will bet and call your raise. This helps make it more expensive for opponents to draw you out, in turn making it more likely that players with weaker hands will fold.
It’s important to think back on how each of your opponents played in the first betting round and in the flop. This will give you clues about whether other players are holding especially strong hands – in which case, it may be better to fold.
If you have the top two pairs on the turn, raise unless the communal cards on the board are three-suited.
Call a bet if you have an open-ended straight draw or a flush draw with two or more opponents, unless the board is paired and another player has called a bet or a raise (in which case, the player may be going for a full house).
Bluffing on the Turn
In Texas Hold ’em, the key to successful bluffing at the turn lies in thinking about your own betting or raising pattern. If your bets and calls in the first round and once the flop was down gave other players’ the impression that you have a good hand, a bluff may succeed. If not, it’s best not to take the risk of being called.
A general tip for most poker games is to avoid bluffing if you’re playing with inexperienced players – in which case, you have to stick it out and win with the best hand.
After the turn, the last stage in Texas Hold ’em is playing the river.