Acting In Turn

An important, but often overlooked aspect of any poker game, is Acting in Turn.

Along with polite etiquette, remembering to Act in Turn is extremely important. In poker, any piece of information that can be learned about another player's hand is extremely helpful. What is acting in turn? Well if the phrase isn't clear enough it refers to waiting for your turn to take action on your hand. Obviously everyone is aware they cannot act before it is their turn, but unfortunately not everyone pays attention or even follows this rule.

Folding a hand is the most common culprit. Often a player will check and if a player after him places a bet the player will immediately fold not waiting for the action to return to him. But why is this important?

1. Knowing what someone is going to do BEFORE they do it is in a sense the goal of poker, if you fold before its your turn then the other players know what you will do. This does not seem like a big deal when folding but it is in other actions, (more in a minute).

2. No matter what your action is whether it be folding, raising, betting, or calling, if someone has placed a bet, and there are players yet to act following the bet, but before you; it will greatly affect what they will do. Let's take an example, player1 bets $20 and player2 raises to $40, player3 has a decision to make, you are player4 in this example. player3 may have a decent hand and is considering calling the raise, he may be worried about calling a raise with 2 players following him and having to outdraw 3 players if you were to call. If you act out of turn and fold, then player3 may call seeing his odds just got much better with you out of the hand, however if you wait then that player may just fold with the possibility of you calling.

3. So, okay that affects them, so what? True but it affects you as well and in a more important way, let's take another example. Let's say you act first by checking your hand, player2 bets. You immediately throw your hand away. You have just given away valuable information. The other players may learn that when you check you will almost always be holding nothing. Instead of getting free flops occasionally because the other players check unsure what everyone has, they may always bet following your check just to get you to fold your hand. This same principle applies to you in another example, perhaps you checked a good hand, player2 bets, player3 may be considering calling (which you want so you can win more money), if you begin to count your chips or grabbing your chips before player3 has acted, he may think you will call or raise and opt to fold his hand worried about outdrawing 3 instead of only 2. He folds and you end up winning the pot. Had you not acted so quickly you may have won quite a bit more.

As you can see, it really has the greatest impact on the player acting out of turn, you might have thought that your innocent fold was nothing more then a great way to piss of the other players, but when you start losing money because of it you'll quickly change your mind.

No better advise then ridding yourself of tells and to limit signaling your intentions as much as possible.