31st October 2005, 4:11 PM
Poker at: Not Banned
On The Flop Decisions
Here's another interesting article:
The Poker GazetteNews from the POKER GAZETTE Even with a good hand, keep an eye on the flopMost of the difficult decisions you'll face in a typical Texas Hold 'em hand will come after the flop.
It's easy enough to figure out what a good hand is before the flop and how you should play it, but many variables must be considered after the flop. Once those three community cards are dealt, many more possibilities exist.
Here are three particularly dangerous flops along with advice on how you should proceed.
• The paired flop — It can either be a really good discovery for you or the flop of death. Let's say you start with a pair of kings and the flop comes Qh-7s-7c. In this situation you have two pairs — kings and sevens.
If nobody has a 7 in their hand, you are in excellent shape (unless one of your opponents started with pocket queens or pocket aces). Because there are no draws on the board, it appears to be a pretty straightforward situation.
But what if someone raises you?
Your beautiful pair of kings might be up against a hand like A-Q. Or you could easily be drawing to one of only two kings left in the deck, if your opponent has the trip sevens.
The best way to approach a flop such as this with an overpair is to go ahead and bet. But if you encounter any resistance from an opponent, proceed with caution. Don't go crazy by raising and re-raising. Be content to just call the hand down and hope your opponent has a Q-Q rather than the dreaded three sevens.
• The coordinated flop — It is one where there is a three-card straight present, something like Q-10-8. Let's say you hold a pair of aces and there are three callers. A flop like that is extremely dangerous because it hits a range of cards with which your opponents might call. Hands like Q-J, Q-10, J-9, 8-8 are all cards your competitors might be holding.
While three out of the four hands have your aces beat (two pair, a straight, and three of a kind), even the first hand, Q-J, isn't far behind your aces. If a 9, J or Q arrives on the turn or river, he or she will beat you. Your aces are only a 2-1 favorite over the Q-J on that flop.
The more players that are in the pot, pre-flop, the more often a big pair ends up a loser. The goal is to try to narrow the field by raising aggressively on the flop and then, if the turn card is a bad one (8, 9, 10, J, Q, K), play cautiously, even if that means folding.
• The flushed flop — When the flop comes with three of the same suit, playing an overpair without holding one of the suit can be tricky. For this example, let's say you start with Jc-Js, and the flop is 8h-6h-2h. While you have a nice overpair, one more heart on the turn and your strong pocket jacks likely will be meaningless.
The best way to approach a hand like this is to bet the flop — but don't get too aggressive by raising. You could raise all you want on the flop, but if someone has a heart in their hand, chances are he's going to call you, anyway.
You need to understand that it's better to play cautiously on the flop, because there are still two cards to come. If a safe card comes on the turn, you might want to punish your opponent, who is drawing to a flush.
If there are several players in the pot, you might be better off folding right away on the flop. With six callers before the flop, there is a decent chance one of your opponents might hit their flush on the flop. If it's bet and raised in front of you, I would definitely suggest folding.
By Daniel Negreanu