Texas Holdem Observations

The Flop
Playing Hand

After you are dealt your two-card hand, the first round of betting begins, a card is discarded facedown and the flop is dealt. The first three community card dealt face up in the middle of the table is called as "flop." Once it hits on the board, your hand becomes fairly well defined. You should be able to fairly calculate your chances of winning the poker pot. The first step in playing the flop is reading it - determining what your hand is and what the likely hands of your rivals are.

When the flop hits the board, you eventually have a poker hand - and so does everyone else. You should be able to determine your hand as early as possible and also other possible hands of other players. We shall see at some flops and try to determine what hands are possible.


This is scary looking flop - all of one suit and in sequence. A straight flush is possible with this hand - in fact more than one. QJ makes a straight flush, as does 76. The Queen high straight is the best possible hand but so is a Jack-high straight flush with a J7. In that case, having the Jack in your hand would block anyone having a Queen-high straight flush. So there are three flush possibilities for a straight flush with this flop, and two of them could occur simultaneously.

The next highest hand would an Ace-high flush. An A with any other Diamond makes this hand. Any two Diamonds make a flush. The same card combinations that make a straight flush, without the Diamonds would make a straight.
Even if you do not have a made hand with this flop, if you hold a single A you have got a poker draws good. Even a K is often worth playing with the flop like this. A lot of hands are possible with this flop. If you don't have one of them, you are not going to like it much.


With this flop the best possible hand that can be made is a set of Aces, three Aces for a player holding a pair of Aces in his hand. Any Ace with a good kicker is possibly the best hand at that point.

With two spades on the board, a flush draw is possible. However, with both the A and K on the flop, a flush draw is not likely unless your rival play loosely. Many players won't play just any two suited cards unless they are headed by an Ace or King.

Then what would be the best hand to hold with such kind of flop? Other than the obvious pocket pair that makes a set or having two pair, an Ace with good kicker is a good holding.

If your cards are of the right suit, that's even better. For example, a10is a much better hand to have with this flop than A10. That is because the Diamonds give you a three-flush, a little extra way of winning by catching Diamonds on both the turn and river. Another hand would give you a three-flush draw would be something like AQ. Also see that any of these hands gives you three cards to a straight. These three-card straights or flushes on the flop don't have much value on their own but they add value to hands that are already good. Small elements like that can turn a good hand into a great hand.

On the flop you still have two more cards to come. If your hand needs one card to make the possible best hand, then we'd just say you have a draw. If you need both of the next two cards, then we'd say you have a backdoor draw as with an A10 here. Backdoor draws are almost worthless but as said, they do add value at times and players often ignore backdoor draws.


Such kind of flop has more dangerous aspect. There is a risk of someone having a 10. It is more likely that someone has a 10 with a flop like this than it would be if someone had a 6 in a flop like A66.

If you have a flush draws with this flop then you have to worry about making your flush with a card that makes someone else a full house. With keeping this in mind, a draw to a hand like J9 is much safer draw then a draw to a hand like 76. Although a Jack-high flush is better than a 7-high flush, that's not the reason it is a much better draw. It is because the J9 has two likely cards that can make full house for someone with a 10, an essential consideration.

There are analogous risks to possible inside-straight draws with this flop. When a pair is on the board, the card that makes your straight no only might make someone a flush but also might make someone a full house.


This flop will not give anyone any draws. If the pot was un-raised before the flop, it is unlikely anyone has an Ace in some games, depending on the particular players involved. A hand like a 97 is likely to be the best hand with a flop like this. Of course, if any of the other poker players are giving any important action, you might have to revise that estimate.


This flop is very likely a good one for someone. Anyone with two high cards has part of this flop, and it is got flush draw potential for someone with two Diamonds. This is a flop that you would want to play very aggressively if it matches your hand very well. Some hands that this flop would be best for would be AK, QQ, KJ, aK, aJ and QT. Some hands that can be danger with this flop would be AT, KJ and QT.
Look at the difference between QT and QT. The three-flush with the hearts can make a difference with these hands.
This doesn't mean you should fold those hands that might be in some danger, but you should consider folding them if the action of the flop involves more raising.


Again, this is a flop with few possible draws. Possible flush draws and a possible straight draw are seen in this flop.


This is absolutely scary flop. A lot of hands could have part of this flop. There is, in fact, the flush draw possibility and straight draws. Someone may have already a straight. A hand like AK is a great hand for this flop and AK is also a good hand. The backdoor flush draw by itself isn't a good draw, but when it is added to the other possibilities of AK, it makes that hand much better. A hand such as T9 is a good hand for this flop. A pair with a gut-shot straight draws is generally a good hand and again, the backdoor flush draw makes it better. Whenever the flop has connected cards (the JT) you have to consider the possibility that someone has two-pair as those are the kind of cards most players tend to play. This is one of those flops you shouldn't get involved with aggressively unless you have one of the better possible hands for it.


This is what we call as a garbage flop. It is very unlikely to have hit anyone. It has no big cards, no connected cards, and no suited cards. It is the kind of flop which many players like to bluff with.

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