Re: Raising to get a free card.
This, in my opinion, is a play that's suited mostly for heads-up pots. If there are three or more people in a pot, raising to get a free card (presumably so that everyone will check to you on the turn, you check, and you get to see the river) is not a good idea, if you're on some kind of a draw that you believe will give you the best hand. Consider the following:
You have an inside straight draw on the flop, plus one overcard:
You're on the button, and there are three other players in the pot. The second player bets, third player calls, and the action comes to you. There are 6 small bets in the pot. Let's examine what happens if you call vs. raise.
You're getting 6-1 on your call, which is not quite sufficient on the inside straight, but you could also spike a king, which gives you another three outs (although possibly tainted), and you have a backdoor flush draw. So, with the extra outs and the implied odds
, you can almost certainly call profitably. If you (as is likely) miss the turn, you will probably have to pay a big bet to see the river. It's possible that you will have to fold by then, as the pot is only guaranteed to be 4.5 big bets when the action gets to you if the same player bets, and 4.5-1 is not quite enough to call with the outs you have, unless your flush draw becomes live.
You decide to try for a free card, so you can get a cheap look at the river and see two cards for (almost) the price of one. You now pay two small bets for the chance of seeing the river, instead of 3 small bets if you had called (1 small bet on the flop, 1 big bet = 2 small bets on the turn).
Advantages of raising:
A large percentage of the time you will get to see the river for only two small bets instead of three, let's say 80%. Some percentage of the time the original bettor will 3-bet you on the flop, and then lead out on the turn, completely negating your play, perhaps 18%, as some percentage of the time, everyone will fold the flop, the remaining 2% - but this is a freak occurence with a bettor and a caller already in. Averaging this out, you're paying to see the river:
2 small bets 80% of the time
5 small bets 15% of the time (3 on the flop and one big bet on the turn)
2% of the time, you win 6 small bets right there = -0.12.
Costing you 1.6 + 0.75 - 0.12 = 2.23 small bets. Still, this is cheaper by far than calling both on the flop and the turn
Drawbacks of raising:
You're only about 25% to win this hand at this point, and you're putting in a raise where you may be three-handed. Clearly you're costing yourself money on this flop. That's not the core of the problem though: You already know that you just barely have the pot odds
to continue even with a call, but you're justifying it based on future implied odds. What happens when you raise, however, is that you're killing your implied odds
. The person in first position who checked is unlikely to call two bets colds on this flop, so he probably folds. The other two people are now going to check to you on the turn, meaning that if you hit either a king or a straight there, you won't be able to trap them for two bets. You hit your monster, they check to you, you bet, they fold. B'bye implied odds. Now there are unfortunately so many different scenarios that putting numbers on them becomes too much of a chore for a Sunday morning, but I'm willing to argue this if anyone feels that my reasoning is off.
In conclusion: Raising for a free card, in my opinion, is best done when there are other, auxilliary, benefits. Most of these come in play when it's a heads-up pot:
Highly important sidenote:
- Your raise may buy a free card.
- Your raise may fold a better hand (making it a semi-bluff).
- Your raise may help define your opponent's hand
In no-limit play everything changes. You can toss in a relatively small raise on the flop, and then check the turn. If the first aggressor would have bet the turn, it's plausible that he would have made a much bigger bet, and one small raise has now gotten you two cards in a key-pot. Your check behind on the turn may also fool him into trying to muscle you out on the river, and if you hit your card then you're up for a jackpot. There are still conditions that need to be met here, of course, but it becomes a much more viable play in big-bet poker. Or, as Tenbob put it, "better to raise once than call twice."