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When You Should Skip Targeting

Home » When You Should Skip Targeting

When You Should Skip Targeting

A gambler holding a stack of chips and deciding whether or not to bet.

Understanding the cards you have in your hand versus the nut hand should play a decisive role in your strategy. For instance, if you’re holding a jack-seven with the community cards being a king, jack, three, you may want to re-adjust your strategy. Why? Because as good as a jack pair may be, there’s always the possibility of a king pair. If you’re betting aggressively, an opponent with a king could call you till the river and steal the pot.

Another effective tactic in online poker is targeting. This is when you make a bet or raise – either as value bet or bluff – and should have an idea of what hands you want to check, bet and fold. Read on as we dissect when you should stop targeting.

Targeting in poker

A close-up of a poker player holding a 2 and 10 of spades.

To be precise: in order to target in poker, you need to have collected some intel on your opponent’s round-by-round. Moreover, it’s the process of defining a range of worse hands that will call your value bet. Understanding your opponent’s playing personality is great for predicting the hands of players around you. From here onward, you can make decisions based on assumptions (backed by research) rather than basing a bet on a hunch.

For instance, if you notice the player to your right folding often and only betting when they have strong cards, you have a good idea that they’re holding an ace-pair if the dealer places down an ace, ten, seven, six and three. Unless you have an ace-pair with a high kicker, we’d suggest folding the round. Although, be sure to look out for other hand possibilities, such as a flush, straight and full house – which tend to show up in the later stages of a round.

A classic example of targeting in poker is holding an ace-king when the community cards are king, eight, six, five and two. With one high card and the rest being eight or lower, you can expect a call from anyone holding a king. That said, with an ace kicker, you have the strongest hand and should make a value bet. It’s crucial to constantly monitor the hand possibilities if certain cards appear. For example, if the dealer places down an ace of hearts, ten of hearts and seven of clubs while you’re holding an ace-five, it puts you in a strong position with an ace-pair. However, beware of opponents semi-bluffing for a flush as they may be holding two hearts, meaning they need just one more to appear.

Another moment to refrain from targeting in online poker tournaments is when you’re holding a high pair with a low kicker, such as a king-three. It’s easy to get carried away when holding a strong pair but remember that your second card can also hold weight in declaring the round of a winner.

Getting in tune with targeting is a great way to improve your gameplay in poker online games. Why? Because it showcases that you’re understanding the possible hands per round, what the nut hand is and how your cards will come up against your opponents. By taking these factors into consideration, you’re utilizing your knowledge of the game rather than relying on luck.

Understanding poker strategies

A bearded poker player thinking about his next play.

When it comes to online casino games, few have more strategies than online poker. Getting to grips with winning poker strategies is crucial to being able to dissect each round and provides you with the best possible information to make your next call. For beginners, it’s the best way to avoid bad poker habits and get the upper hand on players from the get-go.

From semi-bluffing and calling to aggressive betting, there are many strategies at your disposal. What separates the good from the great, is knowing when to implement which strategy and avoiding being over-cautious in moments when you could exploit other players. 

Playing poker tournaments often involves playing many opponents, which means that strategies such as being cautious at the beginning and more aggressive towards the end are great ways to get through competition with little financial harm. That said, the key is to be spontaneous. Try not to overuse a strategy and incorporate a few during the game to keep people guessing. You’re at your deadliest when players have no idea what type of cards you’re holding.

Test your strategies on BetMGM

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You’ve heard poker players mention targeting, but do you know what it means? Read on to discover what targeting in poker is and when you should skip it.