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Monday, June 14, 2021
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Tadas Peckaitis has been a professional poker player, coach and author for almost a decade. He is a manager and head coach at where he shares his experience, and poker strategy tips. Tadas plays poker, mostly online, but also manages to play live events while travelling through Europe and the U.S. He is a big fan of personal effectiveness and always trying to do more. Tadas regularly shares his knowledge about both of these topics with his students, and deeply enjoys it. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, or visit

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Top 10 underrated poker moves for Texas Hold’em

Poker pro Tadas Peckaitis

Poker pro Tadas Peckaitis (photo by Flickr)

While it is not possible to cover all of the strategies in a single article since there are many books written about this subject, I will do my best to give you tips on how to play Texas Hold’em in various situations to avoid common mistakes and take advantage of your opponents.

However, before jumping into specific moves, let’s start with a concrete starting hand that many players end up leaving their money on the table.

10. Go for it with Ace-King
There are many opinions and myths about playing AK the correct way, with some people just swearing to always lose with this hand.
However, it is easy to do some math and prove that it is one of the most powerful starting hands. Even against a very strong range of say TT+ and AJ+, Ace-King has 55% equity, and we are not even including possible bluffs and weaker hands that many players will have.

Of course, it is easy to explain the illusion because our brains remember times that we lose with a strong hand, and quickly forgets when we win, just because we think it was “meant” to happen.
That being said, there is no reason to shy away from playing a big pot with AK, and most of the time, you should be looking to put all of your money out there preflop.

9. Donk betting
While not widely used yet, the availability of GTO solvers is making this move more and more popular, and that is not a surprise. If used correctly, it can be a mighty weapon and put your opponents in uncomfortable situations.

Even though it is common to check the entire range to a preflop aggressor, you can choose to lead yourself, and that is called a donk bet. Of course, you can only donk bet when you are out of position since you need to be first to act.

You should do it when you have a clear range advantage on the flop, and your opponent is likely to check back. If that is the case, by betting out yourself, you denying his opportunity to take a free card, which is excellent, since you want to build the pot when you have a range advantage.

8. 3-betting
3-betting is a much more common play than donk betting, but also way more critical, so it is necessary to get it right. It is also vital to distinguish strategies for IP and OOP play since your approach should be entirely different in these situations.

However, the most important thing is to adjust your ranges based on your opponents. If you find someone folding too much, add more bluffs in your 3-betting range, and if a particular opponent is not folding at all, simply 3-bet with value holdings. It’s as easy as that.

7. Squeezing
Just like 3-betting, when used correctly, “squeezing” can take down many pots without seeing the flop. When someone raises and another player calls that raise in front of you, you can squeeze, which means raise over the top.

The move is exceptionally effective because the first raiser is afraid to call since he has another player behind him and does not want to play a multi-way pot. However, when initial raiser folds, the player who is left to act is not getting as good odds as he would be if the first player called, so he will fold a lot of the time as well.

This is why you should use this move to pick many pots uncontested. It is important to size it properly and make it at least 4x of initial raise and use proper hands, which often includes some blockers.

6. Slowplay
Slowplaying should not be confused with a slowroll, which is an act of tricking your opponent into believing he is going to win at a showdown and then showing a better hand to tease him or even make fun of him. That is a play you should entirely forget.

However, slowplaying is a completely different story and can help you win more money by checking with a dominant hand with an intention that your opponent bluffs or letting him catch up a bit.

You should do it when you flop an extremely strong hand, which is very unlikely to be outdrawn even if you give a free card to your opponent. This play is also successfully used when you block a big part of your opponent’s possible strong holdings when he is likely to simply fold to your bet.

I would only suggest slowplaying on really dry boards since when the board is connected, there is just too much of a risk of your opponent improving to a better hand.

5. Floating
Floating is when you call your opponent’s bet with a very weak hand with the intention to bluff later.

So if you have a flush draw and decide to call a bet, it is not floating, you are just calling with a draw, so it is essential to understand the difference.

In recent years, many training sites such as Red Chip poker explained the benefits of this play and added it to the playbook.

However, you should remember that you should never be floating against multiple opponents since that is just too big of a risk. Instead, only float against a single player when you are in position and have deep enough stack to bluff later on.

Thin value betting means betting in a situation where you do not have a very strong hand.

Thin value betting means betting in a situation where you do not have a very strong hand. (photo by Flickr)

4. Thin value betting
Thin value betting means betting in a situation where you do not have a very strong hand, but know that you can get a call from even weaker holding off your opponent.

This most likely to happen on a board with many missed draws since other players can put you on those at least some of the time. In this situation, you can get away be betting even second pair on multiple streets, but everything depends on the villain.

If you are playing against a player known as “Calling Station,” you should use this move as often as you can.

3. Probe bet
Probe betting is a play when you decide to bet on the turn while being out of position into a preflop raiser, who decided to check back on the flop. In my opinion, it is of the most underused moves in poker.

By betting out on the turn, you can win the pot at once or set up a very profitable bluffing spot for the river, where many players are massively over folding to this day.

As a rule of thumb, if your opponent decided to check back on the flop on an even remotely connected board, you should start firing.

2. Check raising
Check raising can not only be used to win many pots right then and there, but for big huge pots with made hands and create many profitable bluffing opportunities when you are holding thin air.

However, it is important to use this move only when you actually can represent strong hands, so chose the boards accordingly. Also, it is vital to have made hands as well as bluffs in your range not to be exploited by observant players.

Basically, you should be attacking players who are betting too often and ones who fold too much when facing aggression and adjust your range accordingly. If you find a player who is not folding to your raises, simply check to raise more value hands, and he will have to pay for his mistakes.

1. Continuation bet
I put “c-betting” in the No. 1 spot on this list because I think many players leave a lot of money on the table by not understanding how to choose proper hands for betting and checking. Since you will be facing this situation in most of your hands, it is vital to know at least the fundamentals.

First and foremost, study how balanced ranges look on different boards so you could adjust from those when needed against specific players. This will also help you see where others are making mistakes, giving you more opportunities to exploit them.

The important thing to remember is that you should check some of your strong hands to protect yourself from aggressive players. Also, it is essential to plan in advance how many streets you are going to bet depending on the board texture, and drastically reduce your betting frequency when out of position.

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