Posts Tagged ‘How to play texas holdem’

A Beginner’s Guide To Texas Hold ‘Em Part 3 – Playing A Premium Hand On The Flop

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

This is part 3 of a 4 part beginners series on how to effectively play Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. In Part 2 of this series we expanded a little more on which hands are suitable to play before the flop according to your odds of connecting on the flop. In part three of this series we will talk more about how to play these hands on the flop.


Your pre-flop hand selection is undoubtedly the most important factor to your overall success playing Texas Hold ‘Em poker, but that’s not to say you will win them all based solely on your pre-flop judgment. At the average online poker table a flop will be dealt approximately 30%-35% of the time, meaning that the other ~70% of the time the hand will be won pre-flop. The problem with that is a pre-flop pot will only be a few blinds and perhaps a raise, and if you are to going to win a poker tournament or make a considerable amount of money at a cash game you will need to learn how to play your cards right on the flop as well.


Remember that the odds of winning with a particular hand we discussed in the first part of this series is based on a heads-up all-in situation with a flop-turn-river showdown. These odds don’t take into consideration the fact that your opponent will most likely bet on the flop forcing you to either call, raise or fold.


With that being said let’s go through a few scenarios.


Scenario #1


Your hand 9♣ 9

Odds of winning heads up 72.1%

Odds of winning against 9 players 15.6%

Odds of flopping a set 11.76%


4 players call the big blind and now it’s up to you.

You raise 3 times the big blind

The big blind calls and two players call, the other two fold.

So now you’re 4 to the flop


A quick calculation reveals that you are now a 32.6% favorite to win the hand assuming everyone checks to the river.


The flop comes

K7♣ 6♣


The BB checks, Player 2 checks, Player 3 bets the minimum, and now it’s up to you. Let’s take a second and do a quick analysis of the board.


Q: How does your hand relate to the board?

A: Middle pair, only one overcard.


Q: Is it possible someone is holding a K in their hand?

A: The BB and player 2 checked which potentially rules them out. Player 3 bet the minimum which is generally a fishing bet and not representative of a K.


Q: Is it possible someone is holding 7-7 or 6-6?

A: Same as with the possibility of a K if someone was holding trips they would have bet out on the flop and more than the minimum amount.


Q: Are there any possible draws?

A: A club flush draw is possible.


Q: Are my pocket 9s good?

A: Only one way to find out: raise.


You raise half the pot.


The BB folds, player 2 fold. Player 3 thinks about it for a second and says those words you didn’t want to hear “I’m all-in”.


You fold immediately.


Chances are that player 3 was in fact holding either A-K or made a set on the flop.


Keep in mind that while you may have lost a small portion of your chip stack by raising a fractional amount of the pot you were able to determine that you were behind and most likely beat by an opponent who was bent on slow playing a stronger hand. In texas hold ’em poker, a good laydown is often more valuable than a good win. Had your opponent been holding 6 or 7 he would have laid it down immediately following your raise.

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