One important aspect that many players, especially beginning ones, miss is the betting in poker directly influences the outcome of almost every hand that is played. Every time you make a decision, whether it is check, call, bet or raise, it influences the way your opponents play the hand. Now let’s take a quick look at how we can use this information to make us better poker players.
The betting in poker forces your opponents to make a decision. Every time an opponent makes a decision, they have an opportunity to make a mistake. This is the main reason that most strategy information about betting in poker preaches aggressive play. When you bet or raise you have an additional way to win the hand. If you just check and call, you must have the best hand at the end to win. When you bet and raise, your opponent may fold, sometimes with a hand that would beat you at the showdown. So you have instantly double your chances to win by betting instead of checking and calling.
Of course you can’t just bet in every poker hand you play, as there are always going to be situations where it is correct to call or check, like when you are last to act and are on a draw. Being to aggressive can be just as dangerous as being to passive. However, the point I am trying to make is, if you are in a situation where it is questionable whether you should check / call or bet / raise, then you should lean towards betting or raising most of the time.