Fire – To make the first bet on a particular betting round.
To “fire” at the pot basically means to make an elective bet at the pot. If you are making a forced bet, or if you are calling in the
action from another player, it is not referred to
as firing. The bet has to be elective, which means that the player firing at the pot must have also had the option to check. Of
course, the only time that you have the option to
check on any betting round is when no bet has been established, and you are not facing any wager or any forced bet. This is why firing
at the pot must be the first elective bet on a particular betting round. There are other commonly used terms which are equivalent to
“firing.” These include “leading out” and “taking a swing” at the pot.
In a flop game, like Texas Hold’em, each player who is not facing action will have the opportunity to
lead at the pot on each betting round after the flop.
As soon as someone does swing at the pot, no one else will be able to fire at it until the next betting round begins, they will simply
be calling or raising if they choose to give action. We established that you cannot lead at a pot after someone else has already
wagered, and you also cannot lead at a pot before the flop, because the blinds have already established the preflop wager which each
player faces. The same goes for draw and stud games as well. You cannot lead out before the draw (the first draw only in multi-draw
games). You also cannot lead out on third street in a stud game, because everyone on third street is already facing the forced bring
The reason that players choose to differentiate the first optional bet on a given betting round from any other type of bet, is because
of its significance. There is typically quite a lot of valuable
information encoded into the first bet. To fully understand the significance of a lead bet, we need to look at the incentives
behind the bet.
You typically lead at the pot for one of two reasons. Either you believe that your hand is strong enough to make the bet a positive
expectation bet, or you are simply trying to win an uncontested pot by betting. Of course, your opponent knows that when you lead into
the pot, you sometimes have a hand and you sometimes do not have much of a hand. When you fire without a strong hand or draw, you
usually do so to try to take the pot uncontested. This is most effective if your opponents have already checked, and you are acting in
late position. This is one reason having position is so valuable. It allows you to pick up pots which you would not have won
otherwise, simply by betting. This is called betting your position.
When you act last, and everyone else has checked, it is frequently correct to fire and see if the pot is for sale. When you are in
early position, with several players to act after you, it is generally not correct to try to win the pot by leading out without a
hand. This indicates that when a player leads from early position, they have a strong hand or sometimes, a strong draw. If they are
acting from late position, it is difficult to know how strong they are. They could have a strong holding or they could be betting
their position. So it can help you to get a read on exactly how strong your opponent is by evaluating the quality of the position they
are in when they choose to lead bet.
So a good evaluation of your opponent’s lead bet can help you to put them on a hand. A lead bet necessarily give up valuable information
about that player’s holding. The bettor knows he is giving up information about his hand by firing at the pot, but it is worth it to him,
so long as he fires in the right spots, because he either wants the money in the pot, or wants to bluff and try to buy the pot.
You can gain a lot of valuable information from analysis of a lead bet, but you should take into account the caliber of player who is
swinging at the pot. A donkey may not realize that he is firing out of position or with the worst of it. Do not give a speeder or a
donkey too much credit when they fire at the pot. If you have anything reasonable you may want to consider playing at them. However,
when a tight player leads, you have to give them a
lot more credit. Their lead bet is much more significant.
The poker term, fire is also used to describe somebody who is running hot or "on fire." Sometimes a player can
go on a poker rush and win many hands
in a row. This player would be said to be, "on fire" of "en fuego."
Usage: Fired A Bet Into The Pot, Fired At It, On Fire
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