Mid-Level Poker Strategies – 3 Essential Poker Moves

A game of poker is won not by the cards in a player’s hand, but by the player who can convince his opponents that he has the best hand. This is often done by using specific poker moves, either to deceive your opponent into thinking you have the best hand, or to represent weakness, like a draw hand, when you already know you’ve got your opponent beat.

The following are three essential poker moves that accomplish just that. Well discuss the “Float” move, the “Check-Raise” and the “Post Oak Bluff”.

The Float

The purpose of the float move is to steal the pot, much like stealing blinds, but later in the hand for maximum profit. The float can be pulled off in one of two ways; before the flop or after the flop.

Using the float after the flop is more common as it is a straight-out bluff. You will float your way through a hand, limping or calling pre-flop, and maybe even again post-flop. Assuming no one is showing aggression, as soon as you like the pot size, post the big raise and take down the pot.

The pre-flop float is best when you have some kind of hand to work with, at least a solid draw scenario. It also requires good position on your opponents. You wouldn’t normally attempt to steal blinds when a lot of players stay in the pot, but when they are limping in, placing the large raise can steal a lot more than blinds. If an opponent is determined to move on to the flop, calling your raise, you still have something to fall back on.

The great thing about the float is that it requires minimal investment before the big raise. It will not be a big loss if you end up having to fold.

The Check-Raise

One of the most common and feared poker moves is the check-raise. The problem for your opponents is they never know when it’s coming, and if they suspect it, it can cause them to underbet the pot, or check a good hand when they should have been tossing chips.

The idea is simple enough. When you have a monster hand, check to your opponent after the flop. This represents you holding a draw hand that the board didn’t help. Your opponent will try to knock you out with a raise, since he doesn’t want you to keep drawing. You come back over the top with a hefty re-raise. He will either fold (the right move) or defend his investment by calling or raising back (the wrong move). Either way, you win.

The Post Oak Bluff

The post oak bluff is a very delayed bluff. All you have to do is place a low bet on the river, equal to about 25% of the pot. Your opponent sees this as a value bet; a calculated bet used to make your opponent stay in the pot so that you earn more chips at the showdown.

Of course in this case, you’re totally bluffing, which means your opponent has to be paying attention. If you’re up against a loose or novice poker player, he’s going to make the call every time. Your opponent has to be the type to recognize a value bet when he sees it.