Texas Holdem - Playing the Turn
The Turn, or 4th Street in Holdem is the first instance where the bets are doubled. You can hear the “cha-ching” in your ears, as you bet those good hands. However, for the beginner, this street can be exceptionally dangerous, as this is where many players complete their straights and flushes, along with all of the other hand possibilites of poker.
If you have played good poker up to this point, at both the pocket card selection and flop, then you should have some idea of whether or not you are ahead or behind in the hand. As a general rule, if you are ahead after seeing this 4th card hit the board, then bet and start building the pot. On the other hand, if you are pretty sure you are behind, this is the prime time to fold your hand, before you start throwing your money away by calling the expensive bets.
Say you were dealt J-J, and you bet aggressively before and after the flop. The flop and turn board looks like this: Q-3-7-A, three of which are diamonds, and unfortunately, you hold the black jacks (spades and clubs). I would fold this hand to any raises. Why? Count how many ways you are beat. An ace, queen, 2 diamonds, or 1 diamond if another shows on the river, plus a remote straight oppurtunity if the river card is a 10, K or another Jack. Those are alot of ways to beat you. Now count how many “outs” you have and what the best possible hand is that you could form. Right now, your best hope is another Jack, giving you three of a kind. Are you willing to call bets and raises when there are only two cards left in the deck that can help you, and even then, still have a shot at getting beat by someone blessed with a diamond flush or straight??
Good poker play before and after the flop gives you the information you need to make the decision on the Turn. Stick with your gut instinct. If you're ahead, bet, and if you're behind, fold unless you are getting good pot odds with a draw hand. Don't pray for miracle cards.