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Playing The Flop In Texas Holdem Poker

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The flop is the big moment in Texas Holdem after which you will have seen 71% of your final hand and it only cost you one round of betting to see those three cards. “Fit or fold” is what they say in Texas Holdem.

The flop must fit your hand by:

1. Improving your hand.

2. Giving you a draw that offers a sizeable pot should you hit it, or….

3. Being so lousy it probably didn’t help any of your opponents which means you still have the best hand because you are only playing powerful starting hands, right?!

After the flop you have a very important decision to make.

Playing beyond the flop will cost you some chips. Is it worth it to play on?

OVER CARDS

If you started with AK and the flop is J 9 5 you have two “over cards”. Both of your cards are higher than any card on the “board”.

If someone before you bets they are representing they have a jack, or maybe a nine in their hand. Or prehaps an “over pair” like QQ, KK or AA.

Do they or don’t they?

It helps to know your opponents playing habits in this situation. Studying how your opponents play different types of hands is an important part of winning at poker.

Playing The Flop In Texas Holdem Poker

How many opponents are you up against? If someone bets and then someone raises it is obvious that you do not have the best hand with your ace high.

Many players will call with their AK hoping to catch another on the turn or river. This is usually a bad play in limit Holdem.

Think about it. There are three more kings and three more aces left in the deck of forty seven unseen cards.

41 cards won’t pair you up , 6 will.

41 against 6, or about 7-1.

7-1 against you that you’ll catch an ace or king on the turn.

This is one of the biggest mistakes poker players make…chasing… calling bets when it is obvious you don’t have the best hand at the moment and little chance of improving to the best hand. If you DON’T make these calls you will save yourself a lot of chips.

Chips saved are just as valuable as chips won!

FLOPPING A DRAW

Draws are all about “pot odds”. Are the odds of you making your draw greater than the money you will win?

Example: You have the AJ of hearts and the flop is Q 8 3 and two of them are hearts.

If either of the next two cards is a heart you’ll have made a flush which is a powerful poker hand. Not only that but you would have the “nut flush”, the highest possible flush because you hold the ace of hearts.

You are already dreaming about how to spend all that money you’re going to win! But wait.

What are the odds of making your flush with two more cards to come?

There are two hearts in your hand and two on the board, leaving nine hearts in the deck of forty seven unseen cards.

38 card won’t help you, nine will.

38 against 9= about 4-1. With two cards to come about 2-1

Pretty darn good odds but there is more to the pot odds equation.

Let’s say there is $10 in the pot.

The bet you must call to play your draw is $3. The pot is “offering you” 10-3, or about 3-1, but the odds of making your flush on the turn are 4-1 against you.

The odds of you making your hand are GREATER than the odds the pot is offering you. In the long run you will lose more money than you will win in this situation. Not good.

Now if the pot was $20, and the bet for you to call was $3, the pot is offering you about 7-1, with 4-1 of making your draw on the turn.

In five identical hands you won’t make your draw in four of them. But in that one hand you do win you pocket seven times your money, the 7-1($20-$3) the pot is offering you. This is good.

Do you see what I am saying here? It is very important that you understand basic pot odds in fact you can not win at poker if you don’t.

1. Most of the time the flop will not fit your hand. If you started with a good hand like QQ and the flop is A K 7 and people start betting and raising you are beat my friend. Fold. Do not chase rainbows.

2. If the flop gives you a draw, stick with it if the pot is offering you enough. Remember your pot odds. PLEASE reread this page until you fully understand this. It’s your KEY to winning!

3. In general, when the flop gives you a good hand play aggressively. Bet if first to act and consider raising with a powerful hand.

4. If you flop a hand with many possibilities such as a high pair and a straight or flush draw, play aggressively, raise. With many ways to win you want to build the pot because chances are it’s your pot and hopefully your raise will get weak, but potentially dangerous drawing hands to fold.

5. Sometimes even if you flop nothing you should still come out betting. Mixing up your play is an important poker strategy, keep them guessing but don’t over do it when playing limit Holdem. Bluffing works a lot better in no-limit games where you can control the size of your bets.

Remember playing hunches is a one-way ticket to the poor house. Poker is a game of skill with a luck factor thrown in. Only play when the pot odds are in your favor unless a bluff will pick up the pot. Winning poker players aren’t lucky they’re smart.

You must learn to play correctly on the flop if you want to be a winning Holdem player.