In Texas Hold’em Poker, players often try to get a cheap or free extra card. You can obtain a free or cheap extra card by paying a small bet to call another player’s bet. In these situations you must decide whether you want to get a free card or you want to prevent other players from getting a free card. Certainly, you should choose the first option when your hand is limited and you hope to increase its value. In this case a bet would be highly risky because some of the players behind you might have a better hand and call your bet. The same is true, when you are relatively sure that a player behind you will place a bet. In this case, you might win the pot by a check-raise.
You should choose to bet when you believe you have the best hand at the table. You most certainly should bet when possible straight or flush draws are shown on the board. By making the next card very expensive in such a situation, some players will be forced to fold.
There are some situations when you can risk the next card even with a strong hand. If you are playing against opponents who are bluffing regularly, they will just increase the pot size in the next betting round. Another situation for checking and calling is an opponent with an obliviously strong hand. In this situation he will call your bet in every case, so that you simply risk a lot of money against a strong hand. Therefore, your primary goal should be to keep the pot-size small and to increase the value of your own hand. The final situation when you should strongly consider checking is when you are holding a very, very strong hand. In this case you should try to keep as many players as possible in the game. All of them will increase the pot that you are going to take. In this case, your opponents might even get a good hand with an extra card and then some of them will be willing to pay a lot of their money into your pocket.
All these factors you have to consider when you have to make a decision about taking a free card or placing a bet. The right choice depends on the specific cards, your position and the number of players at the table. If you have a weak hand and many opponents, you will certainly go for a free extra card, but fold immediately if somebody bets. If you have a strong hand and fewer players to face, you can try to increase the pot to win more money. Since Texas Hold’em poker is a very complex and strategic game, you should try to use many different strategies so your opponents could hardly guess your hand.