Giving a Free Card
Giving 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 had bet.
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Game Procedures

The 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 showing.