playing poker

Tip 24 Opponent

Anytime that a pair hits the board, it reduces the possibility that the flop has hit your opponent’s hand.  The reason for this is simple,  having two cards of the same rank on the board takes away one of his opportunities to make a pair.  Because the flop is less likely than normal to have been aid, this is good opportunity to play aggressively and seize control of the pot.

You Are First to Act

When you are first to act, you should bet if you have any pair (whether in your hand or from the board), as well as a big ace such as A-Q .  Typically, these hands are the best hand at this point, but they are vulnerable, so don’t give your opponent a free chance to catch up.  It is important not to be afraid that the pair on the board hit your opponent’s hand.  Although you will occasionally run into trips (particular when the pair is a high card such as A-A, which contains cards your opponent is more likely to play), you should not allow fear to sway you into checking.

  In fact, if you sense that your opponent is likely to be in the pot with a weak hand – that is, something other than a pocket pair or big ace – it is correct to bet the flop when a pair hits regardless of your hand.  The reason for this is that the flop to a bet, fearing the possibility that you are the one holding three of a kind.

Opponent Is First

When your opponent is first to act and bets into you, call with any pair or big ace.  There is just too good a chance that your opponent is trying to pick up this pot with a bet, and you do have a hand that can win without further improvement.  If you fold a hand such as 8-8 is the best hand here.  You won’t win every time, but if you always fold in this situation, you are throwing a lot of winners into the muck.

  If you hold an overpair to the board and your opponent bets, you should generally raise your hand for value.  When you bet or raise “for value,” this means you want your opponent to put more money into the pot because you probably hold the best hand.  Your hand isn’t a lock, but is most likely good.

You Flop Trips

Now, what should you do on those rare occasions when you are fortunate enough to flop trips?  First of all, it’s important not to get overly excited.  Spilling your drink all over the table after the flop comes down is not a good way of encouraging your opponent to play along with you.
  In general, you should tend to play your trips aggressively right from the flop onward.  Most players expect their opponents to slowplay when they flop a big hand, so your bet may be interpreted as a sign of weakness rather than a showing of strength.  This might lead to your getting unmerited action on the hand, particularly if you are up against a very aggressive player.  By playing your trips fast (that is, aggressively, not slow-playing), you are taking advantage of your opponent’s aggressive tendencies by turning them against him.

  Conversely, you might need to check your trips on the flop against very tight opponents to suck any more bets from them.  They are unlikely to call a bet on the flop, so you might check one time hoping Poker Turn either makes them a pair, or includes a bluff.  However, it is dangerous to give free cards when Poker Turn can bring your opponent a miracle.  So, it is best to check when fewer draws are present on the flop.  For example, checking a hand like A-8 when the flop is 8-8-2 rainbow is fairly safe.  It’s probably not a good idea to check A-8 when the flop is 8-8-9 with a flush draw, however, as too many potential hands can either outdraw you on Poker Turn, or at least develop quality draws.