Poker Tips by George: Betting Patterns

By George Epstein
November 29, 2022

To a large extent, your opponents bet the same way over and over. Their betting pattern becomes a habit. Knowing your opponents’ betting patterns can be valuable information. Poker is a game of partial information. The more you get, the better your decisions, the more you win. That holds true whether you’re playing at a brick and mortar establishment or online on real money pokies apps.

Carefully observe how your opponents play their hands. What are their habits?  In a sense, it’s reading your opponents’ hands as the game progresses. With experience, you can become more expert at it. Always watch the showdown when possible. Learn all you can about your opponents’ betting patterns.

With seven or eight opponents in the game, paying attention to everyone is a tall order, especially if you prefer mobile gaming experiences. Start by focusing on the two players to your left and the one to your right, adding others as the session moves on. It’s a good idea to keep notes so you don’t have to struggle to recall.

Common Betting Patterns

Call, Bet, Bet, Check

Probably the most common betting pattern is call, bet, bet, and then check on the river. The player calls the big blind before the flop and improves to a good hand. Then he bets out on the flop and the turn, but decides to check the river when he fails to improve further (to a set, trips or two-pair).

Observing your opponent’s betting pattern in this case, it would be wise to check along if there are other opponents in the hand, unless your hand improves to a high flush or big straight. Note that there should always be sound reasons for every decision you make along the way.

poker betting patterns

Image Credit: PokerNews

Call, Check-Raise, Check-Raise, Raise

Another frequent betting pattern is call to see the flop (hoping that the flop improves his hand – which happens about one-third of the time), then check-raise on the flop and on the turn (to build the pot), and then finally raise (a value bet) on the river. If that opponent is to your left, fold your hand (avoid losing a big bet) unless you have a monster. If you have the nuts, you ought to re-raise on the river before the showdown.

Let’s remember that there are also tells. Observe your opponent’s body motions (physical and facial reactions) and his attention to the game. Combine this information with his playing patterns to augment your decisions, thereby increasing your winnings.

READ ALSO: Poker Tips by George: Skills Are the Key

Call, Check/Call, Check Raise, Raise

A third common betting pattern: Opponent calls (to see the flop), then either checks on the flop or calls if there is a bet, check-raises on the turn (to build the pot), and bets out or raises on the river (he has a strong hand).

There are more! Here is a brief overview of other betting patterns to look for, whether you’re playing live poker in a brick and mortar casino or you’re playing poker from your phone as your choice mode of mobile entertainment:

  • Always checks on the river
    An opponent may resort to this pattern after flopping a good hand. But his hand doesn’t get any better. Fearing an opponent has a better hand, he checks on the river.
  • Calling or raising pre-flop; then folding on the flop
    This opponent is extremely cautious or tight. But beware when he bets out or raises on the flop. Muck your cards unless you also have a very strong hand.
  • Check-raises, followed by betting out on the next round
    An opponent who check-raises on one round and then bets out on the next round is representing a powerful hand. But if he is a deceptive player, he may be trying to steal the pot. Know your opponents’ playing traits.
  •  Call, call, call, raise – After calling pre-flop, then again on the flop, and again on the turn, a player suddenly raises on the river. This betting pattern is often used by deceptive players. Based on previous such hands, does he have the goods or is he bluffing? Always look for his tells.

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George Epstein

After a long and productive career as a leader in the aerospace industry, upon his retirement in the 1990s, George Epstein chose poker as his “second career.” George has been widely recognized for his many significant accomplishments and contributions to our society. These include pioneering and innovations in various materials, testing and manufacturing technologies for […]

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