What is a Scare Card?
A scare card is any card that is dealt on the turn that appears to give a player a strong hand; usually, it appears to give that player a stronger hand than the one who took the lead on the flop.
Common scare cards are Aces, Kings, and the third card to a flush or straight draw.
An example is when you call your opponent’s bet on the flop holding a flush
draw. When an Ace hits on the turn, even though it doesn’t make your flush, you lead out and bet on the turn.
You have J♥-10♥. It is the middle of the tournament. You have $23,000. The blinds are $400-$800. You raise to $2,800 in middle position. The big blind, with $19,000, is the only caller. There is $6,000 in the pot.
The flop is J♠-8♦-4♦. The big blind checks. You bet $6,000 wanting your opponent to fold. He calls. There is $18,000 in the pot. You have $14,200. Your opponent has $10,200.
The turn is A♠. Your opponent moves all-in. What should you do?
This is a tough spot. What range of hands did you put your opponent on when he called the flop? What cards did your opponent call your raise with? Does he have a bigger kicker with his Jack? Is he on a draw? Is he trying to steal the pot since he has invested so much?
If you call his bet and lose you will be in real bad shape. But if you call and win the hand, you will almost double up.
You can see why this is such a strong play. In fact, other cards that might worry you on the turn are any diamond, a Queen, or even a 7. In fact, in this situation, your opponent may have figured out there are 15 cards on the turn that he could use to bluff.
You have Q♠-J♠. It is the middle of the tournament. You have $22,000. The blinds are $400-$800. A player in middle position, with $24,000, raises to $2,000. You call on the button. The blinds fold. The pot is $5,200.
The flop is A♦-J♦-4♣. Your opponent bets $4,000. You call. There is $13,200 in the pot. You have $16,000.
The turn is an 8♦. Your opponent checks. What should you do?
This is an opportunity to bluff your opponent off his hand. It is another example of why having position is so important. Your opponent has $18,000. Move all-in, and put maximum pressure on him. Unless he has a great read on your play, he will not jeopardize most of his chips on a call with a made flush on board.
Poker pros are always thinking about how they can take the hand away from their opponents. Turn the tables on them, and look for opportunities where you can take advantage of potential cards on the turn that can get your opponent to fold.