Using "All In" To Your Advantage In Texas Hold'em

If you were to look through a strategy handbook of Texas Hold'em, you would probably find yourself indulged for hours in the expansive and thick strategy guide. This is because, throughout the game of Texas Hold'em, there are many different strategies and routes you can take in winning hands, and ultimately conquesting victory in the end. There are a range of different types of poker players, theirs the overly aggressive, cool calm and collected, as well as the hesitant but attentive player. There are several other types as well, all ranging in type and attitude towards the game. In Texas Hold'em, there are many moves that may appear as a desperation or weak move, which in turn, are actually very useful if used correctly. One of these moves is the infamous “All in” move, a move that if used correctly, is a very  powerful action.

What Is “All In?”

In a standard Texas Holdem match, there is a betting system with chips, where the number of players in the match generally ranges from 3-9 people seated. In regular bet settings, when it comes your turn, given you aren't little or big blind for the round, you have one of four options. You can raise the bet, you can check the bet, you can call the bet, and you can fold. A variant of raising the bet is a move called “going all in”, where all of the player’s chips are bet, where the person sitting next to them must call the raise, raise the bet even higher, or ultimately fold their hand. All in values can range from a chip to several thousands of chips, as it is all of the player’s chips they have raked in at the moment.

When Is "All In" Used?

There are many uses for going with the All in approach, and all differ from offensive and defensive standards. Most all in uses are used as a bluff by the player, either semi or full. A full bluff is where they don't expect the next player to call the bet, and they are using this fact as a way to cover up their bad hand. A semi bluff is when the player raising the bet has a  good enough hand where they think they can play the full hand (they wont fold if the bet is called or raised). All in is also used if the player is forced to call a bet that is above or equal to their total chip amount, where they are forced to match the bet to stay in the round. All in is also used as a way to quickly win the round, in which this move is usually used early, so the player wins a quick, small gained, round.

How Is All In Powerful?

When going all in, you have a 50% chance you are going to be successful, and a 50% chance you are going to regret the move. With going all in, you are placing all of your chips against your opponents, in the hopes that you have a better hand than them. It is unwise to go all in at the start of the game, as going all in is best suited when the other opponents have smaller cash amounts. If you are successful, not only can you win big pot amounts, but you can also trick your opponents into believing you are a better player than you actually are.

Tips For All In

  1. Your Hole Cards- These are cards that you are holding (the two passed out), that no other players know about besides yourself. If you have a weak hand, you better hope your bluff doesn't get called when going all in. If you have a fairly strong hand (pair of aces, three of a kind, etc.), then going all in might bring in good amounts of chips.
  2. Position- If you have been passive the whole game, it is unwise to go all in out of the blue. Chances are, if your opponents pick up on this move, they will either fold, or they will match the bet. Either way, you are in a bad position if they notice you are suddenly pressing down for aggressive chip bets. Try to stay in an uniform position throughout the game, or easily work your way up to more dominant positions.
  3. Timing- Timing is crucial when going all in, as too early could cut you out of the game quickly, too late could mean for quick and cheap flops from your opponents. Try to go all in at times where the opponents have chips, but not enough to call or match your bets comfortably, as a player who calls and has a better hand will ultimately pit you out of the game.
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JF Bouchard

J.-F. Has been working around as a consultant for NATO for about 10 years from which he truly lived the James Bond lifestyle. Working around in war theaters along side the military and other Security experts and traveling to the most fabulous places in the world. J.-F. has trained in different Martial Arts, learned to fly Helicopters and basically learned the real tradecraft stuff on the ground. Added a few perks here and there, still living his life to the fullest.