How To Play The Turn
The Turn brings the fourth community card and there is one more to come on the River. With the two cards in your hand, you have six cards from which to make a five card hand and one more to come on the remaining street. At this point you are most likely going to be reevaluating the strategy that you had on the flop. You should have had a pre flop and a post flop strategy, by this point, and those strategies need to be considered at this point. Your valuation is going to be based upon the two cards in your hand, the four cards on the board, the pre flop action, the post flop action, your position, the other players in the pot and your estimation of the possible range of hands that they have, and the action by the time it gets to you after the Turn. Poker is a thinking man’s game and you should have already been considering various possible scenarios after the flop that will affect your strategy on the Turn.
If you are still on a draw the first thing that you need to do is to figure out how many outs that you have. Once you have figured out how many possible cards could make you a hand then you need to divide the number of outs by 46. In case you are wondering where that number came from, it is the 52 cards in the deck, less the 4 on the board and the two in your hand that you know about. The only exception to using the number 46 after the Turn is if cards were inadvertently exposed earlier in the hand. So if a player threw his hand away after the flop and his hole cards were exposed there would be two more cards that you knew about. If either of those cards were one of your outs then you need to remove them from the outs that you have calculated that you have and then you would reduce the number 46 to 44, because there are 2 more cards that you know the disposition of in this hand., If you have two hearts in your hand and there are two on the board, and no cards have been exposed, you have 9 outs (13 hearts in the deck less the 2 in your hand and the 2 on the board). 46 unknown remaining cards divided by 8 outs equals 5.11. Add 1 to this number and you have a 6.11 to 1 chance of hitting your hand of the River. Consider these odds against the amount of money in the pot and the additional bets that you believe that you would win if you hit your hand on the next street. There needs to be either a great enough reward to compensate for however many chips that you are going to have to put in to the pot in order to see the final community card. Even if you are still on a draw at this point, you need to consider if the actions so far has indicated that the other players in the hand are still drawing to their hands or have weak holdings, then in a limited amount of cases you should try to bet out and see if you can take the pot down right now.
If you are drawing to the middle or bottom pair, the bottom straight, or less than the nut flush, you need to seriously consider the possibility that if you make your hand it will be second best. If this is a real possibility then you either need to make a play for the pot right here and now, take a free card if possible, or throw your hand away and live to fight another day.
Already there and want maximum value
If you are holding the nuts (best possible hand) after the turn, you need to figure out the best possible way to get maximum value from you hand. Keep in mind that what are the nuts on one street can be second best on the next and if this is a possibility, then you want to make certain that anyone drawing to beat you has to pay dearly for the privilege. If you slow played your hand pre flop and post flop and a player behind you has been forcing the action and you have been calling, then you may want to go for the check raise on the Turn. If you are in the lead position and have check raised the turn then you can come out betting on the final street.
Making a move
The Turn is a very good street to make a move and try to bluff the other players out of the pot. As with any other facet of poker, you need to time this properly and not overdo it. If you bluff too much you will get called too often and will lose money. If you never bluff then you will lose money because you will get a whole lot less action so this needs to be closely watched and kept at an optimal balance.