The Free Card in Poker
There is no need for airs and graces; a free card is just what it implies. It’s a card that doesn’t cost you anything to receive, or give away to your opponent.
A free card is given when you check to your opponent, and a free card is received once your opponent checks to you.
This assumes that there is no check-raise involved in the hand as this denotes action and not a free card.
If you have the best hand, then a school of thought strongly suggests you should bet for value.
If you check to your opponent and give them a free card, then you are losing value. By default, if you always bet when you believe you have the best hand then you cannot go far wrong.
One reason you may wish to give your opponent a free card is when you have the deck crushed.
This means that your hand is so strong that it is highly unlikely that your opponent will have anything other than the skin off a rice pudding.
A great example may be to flop the nuts on a very dry board. By checking you may induce your opponent to bluff, or they may hit a piece of the board and decide to bet on the turn after reading your flop check as a sign of weakness.
When deciding whether to give your opponent a free card, be sure to have a read on the skill level of your opponent.
If your opponent is a calling station, then you are probably better off betting for value, as they are much more likely to call with mediocre hands. If they are trigger happy then a free card may start the bluff ball rolling.