How to Play The Flop

At this point, two very significant factors will influence your Texas Hold’em poker strategy:

The texture of the flop

When you are analyzing the texture of the board on the flop, you will need to consider the following essential aspects:

·       Check to see if there are possible made hands such as straights, flushes, and full-houses.

·       Look for different types of straight draws such as inside straight draws, double barrel straights draws (two inside straights) and open-ended straights

·       Consider flush draws. Remember that in a multi-way pot, there might be more than one player with a flush draw.

·       Also look for likely trips and sets.

Analysing what your opponents are likely to hold help you make the correct decisions at this critical stage of the poker game. For instance, if you hit top two pair on a rainbow board of As 9c 4h with only one or two people in the pot, it might be a good idea to slow-play and see if you can get paid off well.

However, if you hit top two pair on a Jh 10h 8s flop, you would have to play differently and because the flop provides too many straight and flush opportunities.

Understanding what the cards on the flop might represent to other players is essential to excellent poker strategy.

The number of players seeing the flop

Multi-way pots need to be approached completely differently to a heads-up pot.

Multi-way pots

If many players decide to see the flop, you will typically need a much stronger hand to win. Therefore, you will need to play much more cautiously. Remember that in this situation there is no room for bluffing. Top pair can very often be dominated by two-pair or three-of-a-kind. Straights and flushes usually work really well in these family pots because you will usually be paid off well.

Heads-up pots

Well-timed aggression is the key poker strategy here and will pay off in the long run. If you hit the flop well, it is best to make a calculated bet. Consider the following points:

·         If your opponent missed the flop he will be forced to fold since you projected a strong hand, allowing you to win the pot right there.

·         If your opponent is on a draw or is holding overcards, you will avoid giving away a free card.

·         You might try to slow-play if you flop a monster hand such as a straight, a flush or the top two pair. However, you need to consider the texture of the flop to verify that you are making the correct decision.