Use Bets or Raises to Test

Texas Holdem Poker Tips

Not long ago I discussed a hand that took place in NL2 in a 6 player table Zoom game, preflop BTN position (button position) opened to 0.04 dice with Q♥J♥, the big blind 3-bet to 0.14 dice, and BTN position called.

The flop Q♣3♣8♥, the antes were 0.28 dice, the big blind c-betted 0.09 dice, and BTN position called, a very reasonable play.

The turn was the 4♠, the antes were 0.45 dice, the big blind bet 0.3 dice, the antes were 2/3 as much, and the BTN called again, which I think is the right play for the hand he held.

During the discussion, the turn was the focus of much discussion, with several participants saying they wanted to raise on the turn, and one of them explicitly stating that the reason he raised on the turn was to “test the hand” and see if he was behind or ahead.

I’ve talked about this approach before, but the responses suggest that there’s more to talk about.

The use of bets or raises to test the strength of a hand is definitely a problem in today’s gaming environment.

This is generally a mistake made by new players or inexperienced people who do not understand why this is a problem because it is perhaps a “trick” passed on to them by so-called old drivers who never learn the theory, so they follow the example and do it, but of course, this “trick Of course, this “trick” in the previous game environment may indeed be effective.

In the game environment 15 or 20 years ago, there may have been some real benefit to using raises to test the strength of the cards, because players back then generally showed the most straightforward reaction to a raise, calling if they had a strong hand, countering if they had a super strong hand, or folding if they took a weak hand. While testing these reactions is not at all the reason we should choose to raise, doing so can often be useful information at the time.

But useful it is, after all, not 15 or 20 years ago, and today’s game theory has evolved to a whole other level, far beyond what it was before.

When discussing the above hand, the person who wanted to test the hand said they were going to min-raise to 0.6 on the turn, so let’s say the BTN position did that, let’s see how the big blind would react, and then let’s talk about why it’s a problem to test the hand with a bet or raise.

When BTN raises on the turn, the big blind will react in one of three ways: fold, call, or reraise.


If the big blind chooses to fold, well, good, that should mean we’re holding the best hand, right? After all, it’s unlikely that the big blind would fold a hand better than BTN’s in this situation.

But the problem here is that when BTN picks a raise, most of the hands he can force away are low-winning hands, like AK with only 6 outs or TT with only 2 outs. The big blind’s choice to fold after a raise does send a valid message, but from a value perspective, the benefit of his folding is not that great, as the BTN is simply forcing the big blind to fold a hand that has little chance of overtaking QJ, and by doing so he is also depriving the big blind of the opportunity to bluff on the river, or to pass-call on the river with a bluff-catching hand, if the river If the big blind had really bluffed or overcall-called, BTN would have played more value.


This is the most likely option for the big blind, and after he calls, did we achieve our goal of raising? Did we test the strength of the hand? Not really.

Since the number of raises is only a minimum, which means the odds are very good, the big blind will probably call with a listening hand, but also with some poorer completed cards, and will also call with a dark three to set up a set, like an overpair, or AQ/KQ, of course.

The short answer is that the calling range in the big blind includes both stronger and worse cards than the BTN position, so what is the strength of the hand being tested after the raise?


It is unlikely that the big blind will choose to raise back, but this option is what many people want to use to “test the hand”. If the big blind raises back, according to the logic of people who want to raise on the turn, this is the hand we are testing, and a raise from the big blind means he is better than us, so we should fold, right? But is the situation really that simple?

You know, in modern game theory, it is possible for an aggressive player to counter-raise with a heard card, especially with cards like A♠2♠, A♠5♠ or 6♠5♠, which increase their win rate quite a bit on the turn.

Or what about going 3-bet with QT preflop in the big blind and playing too much with them postflop?

There are also overpairs like AA or KK, which will definitely be used to counter-raise, so if we face this type of hand, we can at least fold and “get away” from them. Don’t be so quick to judge! While that’s true, is it really good for our long-term gains?

If we choose to fold, we miss the opportunity to look at the river, but we have 5 mulligans to river-kill the overpair, and if we do, we have a chance to take down a big bottom pot on the river.

Some people will say that the turn card to face the reverse plus, if the opponent took the overpair, we folded if the river card our power did not improve, then at least save us a money of the river card, right?

This is not necessarily the case …… In the hand discussed above, if the BTN position is not improved, he will probably fold on the river very easily, but even if it is folded, but considering that the flop has called a bet, plus the raise on the turn, and finally folded after the river was not improved, if only to do so, then why not just Why not just call on the turn and then call on the river as well? The expenses are actually very similar between the two approaches, and by just calling the turn, we still have the possibility of getting that 5-card mulligan on the river and the chance to get the extra value our opponents put in when they bluffed.

So, even if we “get away” from the overpair situation, we don’t get any better in the long run, not only do we not get better, but we might even lose.

The practice of “testing the strength of the hand” is a product of the old days, when most people would respond truthfully by respecting your raise, so raising was a way to get some valid information, but it was definitely not the main reason for betting or raising.

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