A free card is exactly that. It is a card that does not cost a bet to receive. While players might get a free card (or cards) in draw poker if a hand is checked around before the draw, concepts about the free card apply primarily to stud and hold ’em games where there are several rounds of betting.
In general, when you have the best hand, you do not want to give opponents a free card since you are giving them a chance to outdraw you and win the pot. By the same token, when you do not have the best hand, you want to try to get a free card to get a free shot at winning the pot. However, the principle of not giving a free card goes even further. If your opponent is a 9-to-1 underdog, getting 6-to-1 odds, you should still bet.
In this case, you hope that opponent calls, but you don’t mind when he folds. His folding is better than your giving him a free 10 percent chance to make his hand and beat you. As we saw in the last chapter, giving a free card is equivalent to giving a person infinite odds on that betting round. That person needs to make a zero investment for a chance to win whatever is in the pot.