Brave or stupid? Why you should never be scared to go all in playing poker

  • Sometimes, it pays to go all in
  • When you time it right, there’s no better feeling in the game

If you’re the more cautious type of poker player, going all in may seem like a reckless move, but failing to go all in when you should is probably more dangerous.

With online play increasingly popular, poker has become considerably more aggressive and passive players are at risk of being muscled out of games. That’s why going all in is an important weapon in any poker player’s arsenal.

poker bluffing guide
It’s true… But, you’d pay to read up more about the game before you think you can bluff your way to victory

But like any move, you need to know when to deploy it and when to keep your impetuousness in check. Sweep your chips into a pile too often and your game will swiftly start to become predictable and all too easy to read.

Going all in

Although putting all your chips into the pot might seem an enormous risk, if you follow these basic rules you’ll really improve your odds. There are four main reasons to go all in:

  • When you feel confident you have the best hand and you believe the other players will call
  • When you are low on chips and you know you have a good hand
  • When you believe your opponent is one card short of a winning hand and by going all in you will force them to fold
  • When you are betting more than half your stack, in which case you may want to consider going all in instead

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In each case going all in is not just a matter of what you have but anticipating your opponent’s actions to your move.

When not to go all in

As with deciding to go all in, there are also legitimate reasons for not putting all your chips into the pot. Before going all in, consider whether the pot is worth the risk.

poker all in
Of course, sometimes it’s easy to know when to go all in. But the really smart players also know when to avoid it

Then consider whether the desired outcome can be achieved with less chips. If so, don’t put in more than necessary. Thirdly, consider the actions of the other players on the flop. If you have serious betting and your hand isn’t that great there’s good reason to be cautious.

The bluff

Poker isn’t just a game of cards – it’s a game of reading people. That’s why there is no better feeling than reading the players well enough to bluff them out of a pot. If going all in with a bad hand sounds like torture to you then why not try the double bluff?

Go all in with a good hand instead. Your opponents knowing your usually cautious game may assume you’re bluffing and follow you into the pot. There’s no greater feeling in the game than scooping a monster pot.

Of course this sort of psychology is all well and good when you’re gathered around a table in a casino or a mate’s front room, but it’s a different state of affairs when you’re playing at an online casino.

On the web, many of the tells that seem so easy to pick up IRL are no longer available. That’s when you’ll need to be at your brilliant best to outwit your opponents. And therein lies the beauty of poker, a game that’s one part luck, one part mathematics and one part psychology.

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