Ah, the turn. If there’s one thing that poker players of all stripes seem to like, it’s the turn. That’s because a lot of action happens on the turn. You can have a bad flop and suddenly, that turn card — that one little card — can change a bad hand into a good one. Good hands win decent pots. You can even turn a good hand into a great hand with just the turn card — and if the river is also kind, you sail into a very nice pot that will make you a very happy player indeed.

Yet what do you do with the turn, anyway? That’s the million dollar question, as it were. If you don’t bet on the pre-flop or the flop, betting on the turn can change your image. Some people might assume that you’re an idiot and call you, even when you do have a good hand.

This is where you definitely want to make sure that you’re following good poker principles. You don’t want to rush in with just any hand. Leave the bluffing to the pros — until you’re really good at poker, we don’t think that bluffing is really the best strategy that you could employ for your own needs. It might be smarter to really think about doing something else — like betting.

If you have a good hand, you should bet. You don’t have to be afraid of someone else having a better hand. Imagine all of the possibilities and weigh them against the hand that you have, not the hand that you want. That’s another mistake — you can’t depend on the turn so hard that it’s your only hope of staying in the hand, but at the same time if you know that you’re on fire, you need to bet something to encourage others to put their chips in the pot too. The size of the pot is also something that plays a role in your blueprint, as it were. If nobody’s contributing to the pot, you might want to just hang back and punt, as the saying goes.

Thankfully, you have the benefit of playing a lot of hands before you have to develop your strategy. In fact, scratch that — your strategy should always be changing anyway. The last thing that you really want to do is find yourself not changing anything about your strategy. That’s just going to get you in trouble in the long run, if you ask us. It’s better to really just push forward and make sure that you have what you need rather than just going with your gut all the time.

We’re not going to lie to you and say that it’s never going to fail on you. You can bet hard on the turn and then get beaten by another player’s good luck — it’s really the nature of poker. You take your failures along with your victories and live to fight another day. Why not play a few hands today and keep these tips in mind? You’ll be glad you did!