3 Moves Every Poker Player Should Know

Winning poker players have a lot of moves in their arsenal and these players can choose the right move with the same skill that a golfer chooses the right club.

There are literally hundreds of different moves you can make in poker, enough to overwhelm anyone, but there are a few moves that are so powerful that everyone should be familiar with them.  Here are the 3 moves every poker player should know (plus a bonus move).

Continuation Bet

The continuation bet (c-bet) is arguably the most powerful move in poker.  When a player raises pre-flop, they continue their aggression on the flop by betting ½ to 2/3 of the pot whether they hit the flop or not.

Most players c-bet around 80% of the time and it makes it very difficult to tell whether or not the flop helped them.  Most opponents will fold to a c-bet unless they caught a piece of the flop or a decent draw.

Overall, your opponents will only hit the flop 30% of the time and it will be hard for them to continue the hand when you’ve raised pre-flop and bet the flop if they have nothing.

If you’re not using the continuation bet, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

Rope-A-Dope

Aggressive poker is winning poker, but some players take that axiom too far.  The rope-a-dope line is perfect for exploiting players with super-aggressive tendencies.  Here’s how it works:

You raise pre-flop with AQ and get called by a super-aggressive player on the button.  The flop comes Q37 rainbow (three different suits).  You make a standard continuation bet and your opponent calls.

You know your opponent is super-aggressive and will call your continuation bet with anything and try to take the hand away from you on the turn (a move known as floating).  If you bet the turn, you know your opponent will fold unless they have a hand, so you decided to exploit his aggression with the rope-a-dope to get more money out of him.

When your opponent floated your c-bet, he did it hoping you’d check the turn and he could steal the pot.  Time to rope a dope.  The turn is a 2.  You check.

Your opponent interprets your check as weakness and bets the pot to take the hand away from you.  You, of course, aren’t going anywhere.  You check/raise and your opponent folds.

Stop-and-Go

The stop-and-go is a good move to use in a tournament situation.  Here’s how it works:

You and your opponent are about even in chips, but the blinds are high and you both have around 16 big blinds in your stack.  You raise from mid-position with 88 and your loose-aggressive opponent 3-bets from the button.  You could go all-in at this point, but you’re only a coin-flip against two over cards if you’re called.  Instead, you choose to flat call with the intention of shoving the flop no matter what cards hit.

This move works well because your opponent will miss around 70% of the time.  If your opponent 3-bet you with overcards or a small/medium pocket pair, it will be hard for him to call your all-in unless the flop helps him.

Fold

You don’t have to win every single pot.  Sometimes the best move is to fold.  When Phil Ivey was asked how he won 2 WSOP bracelets in 2009 he said, “I’ve added the fold to my arsenal.  They never see it coming.”  You’ve gotta know when to fold ‘em.  It’s trite, but true.

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