a free card means checking a hand you could have bet
when there are more cards to come. Of course, when
you check with the intention of raising, you are giving
a free card only when your opponent is so uncooperative
as not to bet into you.
When you know or are pretty sure you have the best
hand, you have to decide whether or not to give your
opponent a free card. We saw in the last page that
it is almost never correct to give a free card when
the pot is large. It turns out that it is rarely correct
to give a free card with medium-sized pots, even when
you know your opponent will fold if you bet. You simply
have to be satisfied with what there is in the pot
already. One reason you should bet is that generally
you want your opponent to fold.
If there is, let's say, $50 in the pot and you bet
$10, your opponent is getting 6-to-1 odds. As a 5-to-1
underdog, he should call. As we have seen in earlier
pages, any opponent who doesn't take the odds when
he has the best of it is losing money. Therefore,
you have gained when that person folds.
However, the principle of not giving a free card goes
even further. If your opponent is a 9-to-1 underdog,
getting 6-to-1 odds, you should still bet. In this
case, you hope that opponent calls, but you don't
mind when he folds. His folding is better than your
giving him a free 10 percent chance to make his hand
and beat you. As we saw in the last page, giving a
free card is equivalent to giving a person infinite
odds on that betting round. That person needs to make
a zero investment for a chance to win whatever is
in the pot.
Suppose, going into the last card in seven-card stud,
you think a player has a gut-shot draw to a straight,
and you have three-of-a-kind. Your opponent is at
least a 10-to-1 underdog to make the straight, and
even if he hits, you may make a full house. So you're
a big favorite to win the hand. Nevertheless, it is
still better that you bet and force your opponent
to fold than that you check and he check behind you.
By checking you are giving your opponent a free shot
at beating you, a chance he would not have if you
game starts with each player being dealt two cards
face down and one card face up. The player with the
lowest ranking up card has a forced bet-called a bring-in.
This player must bet a specified amount, typically
an amount significantly less than the bet limit. The
game is usually played with a $1 to $5 spread limit
and the bring-in bet must be at least $1. This bring-in
provides an initial pot, taking the place of an ante.
The bring-in must bet, he cannot check. Subsequent
players then act in turn to either call the bring-in,
raise, or fold.
Then four cards are dealt to each player face up,
with a betting round after each card. At each round,
the betting starts with the player with the high hand