Every successful poker player has a unique way of playing the game – some are aggressive, others are great at bluffing, whilst others prefer to play defensively. We take a look at some of the more basic poker plays.

Aggressive Play

There are certain plays which are patently aggressive and a check-raise is undoubtedly a prime example of aggressive play. A check-raise is basically a deceptive play where a player declines to bet early in a round in the hope that one of his opponents will open the betting. Once this has been achieved the player will then raise, or increase the size of the pot, in the same round.

The reasoning behind this play is if someone else bets first, the player can raise, thereby increasing the value of the pot by not one, but two bets. There are limitations to this type of play at some small-stakes casinos, and it is strictly forbidden in California Lowball.

Bluffing Play

To bluff in poker is to bet or raise when you have rotten cards with very little chance of the hand improving. The obvious principle behind this play is that the opponents may very well believe that you are sitting with the dominant hand of the round and choose to fold leaving you with the pot. A pure bluff is made when the player calculates that the only way that he can win is if all other players fold. Bluffing is only really effective when there is a very slim chance, or none at all, of being called.

A semi-bluff only happens in games with multiple rounds where the player bluffs in one round in the hope that his hand will improve in later rounds. The player has, in effect, a double chance of winning the pot – the first being that all the opponents will fold immediately, or secondly, he may be on the receiving end of a great card which will improve his hand immeasurably.

Isolation Play

An isolation play usually encompasses a raise which will hopefully encourage a player or players to fold so that the isolation player can get down and dirty with one specific player in a head-to-head kind of contest. A perfect example of isolation play is that player A raises, but is considered to be bluffing by his opponent, player B, so he re-raises in the hope that all the other players fold so that he can claim a heads-up with player A.