Playing The Flop

Betting Rounds: Before The Flop : Flop : Flop Hands : Turn : River

How To Play The Flop

So you have made it to the flop with what you thought was a decent hand, but you are a little unsure of how to play from here on out. You need some good strategy for playing the flop in Texas Hold'em.

Unfortunately, there are no tables or rules to help you make the best decision like there were before the flop, and you are being forced into making decisions for yourself. Allow me help you find your feet and help you make the best possible plays when the hand starts to open up on the flop...

{Note: If you are looking for a more specific hand guide, have a browse over the article on playing hands on the flop.}

Evaluate the situation on the flop.

The first thing you should do when the flop comes down is evaluate every aspect of the hand, and consider the strength of your cards at this point. This means that you will need to ask yourself questions like:

  • How strong is your hand? (Do you have a pair? Two pair? A straight? And so on.)
  • Do you have a draw? (Could you make a flush or straight when the next card comes down?

In addition to this, you should consider a number of other factors in the hand to help you make a more informed Think Outside Of The Boxdecision. Think about:

  • The size of your stack and your opponents' stacks.
  • Your position in the hand. The later your position the better.
  • How the flop could have helped the other players in the hand.

Now this might seem like a load of stuff to think about just for one small decision, but honestly, it really does help you to make the most profitable play possible. The flop is where a pot starts to get built up, so the last thing you want to do is make a bad play and get caught up in a hand that is going to lose you a lot of money.

The more thought you put in to your decision on the flop, the easier the rest of the hand becomes to play.

For example, you may well have a decent hand like Ac Jh on a flop of Ad Ts 4h (giving you top pair), but it could easily spell trouble in certain situations. If we neglect to consider the fact that we are first to act and our opponent raised before the flop (and lets say they have a big stack for good measure), we may well end up losing a large amount of our money to their AK. This is a little unfortunate, but for an experienced player a loss like this could have been avoided.

In other instances our Ac Jh would have been a great hand to play with, but this example goes to show how thinking outside of the box and not just looking at your own cards helps to get you out of tricky spots (and helps to place you in some sweeter ones).

Think about the future of your hand.

One of the best ways to make a decision on the flop is to think about what you would do on future betting rounds What Are You Going To Do On The Turn And River?depending on which cards came on the turn and river.

  • Do you have a clear idea of what you will do on the turn?
  • Does it seem as though you could make a profitable play on the turn?

It's all too easy to make your play based on the situation of the flop alone, without considering what could potentially happen further down the line. However, to really ensure that you do not land yourself in a sticky and unprofitable situation later on, you have to think past the play you are going to make on the flop.

Never make a play in the hope that everything will be okay when the turn and river cards come. Good flop strategy involves thinking past the flop itself.

Playing the flop tips.

  • Don't get attached to weak flush and straight draws.
  • Make continuation bets regularly.
  • Don't be afraid to bet with strong hands right away – no need to wait for the turn.
  • Consider using the float play if you know how.
  • You have time to make your decision, so use it. There's no need to rush.

Playing the flop overview.

This article has been a little more on the negative side than I had planned, discussing more of the ways to avoid losing money rather than making money. Although, a lot of the process of making money as a poker player is avoiding the pitfalls that can eat away at your earnings, and you can be sure that there are a lot of these on the flop.

As I always say, you learn winning poker through playing the game, and this is especially true for Texas Hold'em flop strategy. Before the flop you had tables and charts to help you along, but now it's time for you to stand on your own two feet and make decisions for yourself. Now if you want to become a winning poker player, you are going to need to get used to flop play and thinking about each situation, rather than relying on a few tricks for your preflop strategy.

So start playing and learning. Your ability to play the flop well will improve with practice.

Playing a hand.

Go back to the sublime Texas Hold'em guide.

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