A Feeler Bet – also known as a probe bet – is designed to put the opposition in a situation that requires them to in some way divulge information about their hand. While it could be argued that we can also learn something by checking because opponents still respond, betting induces a more serious and therefore telling reaction by literally raising the stakes.
A feeler bet also has the advantage of not giving players the luxury of seeing free cards and, even more important, by betting it’s possible to actually take down the pot.
Note that the information we might glean from throwing out a feeler bet might not be what we wish to see, but it can lead to serious trouble not knowing where we stand in a hand – better to be aware as early as possible of what could become a costly outcome than to find ourselves in the dark and in too deep as a consequence.
A typical scenario in which a feeler bet is an appropriate action would be hitting middle pair on the Flop against two opponents, with a 1/3 pot bet being reasonable.
With a feeler bet we aim to achieve (at least to some degree) the following:
- Get an idea of opponents’ intentions
- Identify strong/weak hands.
- Take the initiative by assuming the role of aggressor.
- Pre-empt others’ attempts to put out a feeler bet.