To Bet or Not to Bet: That is the Question

You are sitting pretty with pocket Queens and you raise pre-flop under the gun and get two callers. To your amazement the flop comes with a third Queen and you hit your set. Now you have a decision to make – do you slow-play the hand or do you simply bet your monster. There are many factors that will play into your decision of whether or not you should bet your monster or not.

Firstly, what do you think of the other players? Will they likely call a large bet right now if you decided to bet? If they would, it strongly suggests that you should bet your monster.  If you think your opponent is maybe weak and will fold to your bet, however, you may want to check your hand and try to induce a bluff.  Another consideration to take into hand is whether or not there is any obvious straight or flush draws on the board. If your opponents are likely to hold some sort of draw, betting your monster once again seems like the best move because they will be forced to pay for their draw cards – the last thing you want is to let them see two free cards and then fold their hand after you could have got two solid betting rounds in.

You also need to look at the risks of picking each option. For instance, if you slow play your big hand it is possible that your opponents can chase down free cards and outdraw you, when they would have folded if you bet. Those are lost chips for you. Also, if they are planning on chasing you will want to make them pay for the cards and not give them for free. A possible risk of betting out your hand is that you may cancel out an attempt of a possible bluff by an opponent who would likely bet if you slow played your hand.

These are all considerations you have to think of before deciding whether or not to slow play your monster or bet it strong.  When processing the information your given, make a choice you think is right and make your move. You will most likely win a pot when you have flopped a huge hand but whether or not you maximize your chips will depend on exactly how you play it.