Post Flop 102

So you have read your opponents carefully and possibly gauged what they had pre-flop. Time to consider your hand and its strength or weakness

Did the flop improve your hand? This is fairly self-explanatory; do you have a higher ranked hand than what you began with? Do you likely have the best hand possible? Look at the community cards and your hole cards; are you sitting on a winning hand? If you don’t already have the winning hand, does the flop give you some kind of a draw? You may not have a winning hand yet but you may be on the verge of one. Calculate your number of outs (the number of cards still in the deck that could improve your hand). If there are aces or face cards in the flop that are not helping your hand, consider they are likely helping your opponent’s. Community pairs on the table are serious business and reason enough to get out of the hand if they are not helping you. They are typically somebodies second pair or possible three of a kind+. If you hit a set (three of a kind) with even a small pocket pair you will want to get in as much money on this as you can. Bet every round possible in order to maximize any profits.

When you got big pairs (paired face cards or a pocket pair) like AA down to JJ you can usually stay in the hand unless someone makes a real big raise or the community cards are telling you that you don’t have the winning hand. If this happens your decision on whether to call or not should be based on who made the raise and the number of over cards (number of higher ranked cards than you have) there are. Remember that the more players there are still in the hand, the higher the chance your hand is second best or lower.

If your hand has solid draw potential after the flop, like a flush or even a straight; you should almost always bet and play aggressively. Don’t chase hands though that after the flop still need a lot help to win; small pairs (22-77) or AJ – AK. If there are only a few players still in the hand post-flop open up a little and ignore this advice. If you’re in a heads up situation (only you and another player) you can usually go ahead and continue to bet whether or not your hand has improved. Your opponent may be bluffing and you could easily have the best hand by the end of the hand.