One of the key features that speeds up the poker action when playing online is the ‘pre-action’ buttons. These are playing options that you can choose with a click designed for your poker hand to automatically check, bet, call or fold instantly when it becomes your turn to act.
Many experts will argue against their use, maintaining that the situation is rare that a player should know what he intends to do well ahead of time without knowing the exact intent of all the players to act before of him. An example might be a player that is dealt a pair of Jacks while sitting in late position during almost any type of Holdem game. It is almost impossible to imagine many situations where it is correct to automatically raise or call with those Jacks no matter what the action is ahead of you. The hand plays itself much better in relation to the action. In many scenarios a raise is better when facing just one limper ahead of you, and calling is the often the better move when already facing raises (especially from tight players).
Despite our inability to properly assess which poker action to take beforehand on many good or marginal poker hands, even beginner players can recognize some decisions to immediately fold bad cards regardless of the action that has happened before them. An example of this scenario would be getting dealt a hand like 8s-3c in middle position while playing a relatively tough limit Holdem game. Even before the cards are dealt most players will have a certain standard of hand needed to open the pot or be the first to limp in, and this hand usually falls below that standard. If any players are calling or raising in early position, then it becomes even more certain that it would be a mistake to play this hand. It seems that using the ‘check/fold’ button wouldn’t be much of a mistake when dealt some of these rag hands.
It’s interesting to note that making a tiny bet at a pot in online tournaments (normally not strategically correct) has now been turned into a tool to get the players using the ‘auto-fold’ button to toss their hands without possibility of a free miracle card. Players using the auto-check/fold feature consistently are in fact exposing themselves to a uniquely possible online poker tell, albeit a small one.
The increased resulting game speed is by far the most compelling reason for players to use the pre-action buttons. Many will argue that even if a rare strategic poker betting mistake was made by using these buttons, the higher number of hands dealt per hour more than compensates good players financially and helps all players in way of enjoyment of the game. The fast paced poker action that Holdem in conjunction with these action buttons and the poker software has provided remains one of the most exciting and appealing aspect of playing online.