playing poker

Playing on the Flop

This tip is consistent with the tight-aggressive strategy you should be practicing in hold’em.  Because you are playing selectively, you have a good hand when you enter the pot.  As a result, your hand tends to be better than those of your loose-playing opponents most of the time, even after the flop.  So, you  should play aggressively.

Bet When Checked To

In particular, this is true when the hand is checked to you on the flop.  It is common for the flop not to have helped any player, and your bet might win you the pot right then.  This is almost never a bad thing, unless your hand is so strong that nobody can catch up (for example, you flop four or a kind).

  What exactly constitutes a hand worth betting on the flop?  One of the main considerations is the number of opponents in the hand, as this has a major influence on how strong a hand is typically needed to win the pot.  Several later tips cover this topic in more depth, but for now we establish some general guidelines for which hands are worth a bet most of the time.

Don’t Be a Rock

It is incorrect to bet only when you are 99 percent certain you hold the best hand.  Some players play hold’em this way, and they are commonly referred to as rocks.  Don’t be one of them! If you play like a rock, you won’t lose your money as fast as someone who recklessly rams and jams* every pot, but you will just as surely lose.
  As a general rule, when the action has been checked to you (or if you are first to act), it is correct to bet anytime you hold the top pair on the board, or an overpair.  So, if the board shows 3-7-Q, you should bet if your hand contains a queen, or if you have A-A-, or K-K.  Also, bet any stronger hand such as two pair or three of a kind.

Betting  a Draw

Betting a draw is  also good strategy at times.  The more outs(cards that make your hand into the winner) you have, the better it is to bet.  For example, it is generally a good idea to bet if you hold K J and the flop is 4T Q.  Here, you can win with any heart (flush card), 9, or ace.  A king might win it for you as well.  Added up, this draw gives you 18 outs (9 flush cards, 6 aces and nines that aren’t hearts, plus three kings).  With two cards left to come, you will complete your draw most of the time.

  Playing a good draw aggressively is correct for two reasons. First, you might induce your opponents to fold, allowing you to win the pot without having to make your hand.  Second, if they do call, you have managed to build a larger pot with a good draw, enabling you to win more if you hit your hand.
  Lesser draws can still be played aggressively for profit, for the two reasons just stated.  The possibility of your opponents’ folding is enough justification for betting a straight or flush draw on the flop when it’s checked to you.

Betting Middle Pair

Holding hand like middle pair on the board is somewhat more complex to play correctly.  Generally, your position has a lot to do with how you should play this type of hand.  Since you tend to be entering most ports with high cards, a good percentage of the times you flop middle pair occurs when you get a free or cheap look at the flop from one of the blind positions.  Being in the blinds is a disadvantage to you, as you will have to act without much information about the strength of the hands behind you.

  Thus it is usually best to check middle pair from the blinds if several players are yet to act.  However, bet if only one or two opponents are in the pot with you, as you are likely to be holding the best hand.  You don’t want to give your opponents a free chance to catch up when you are in the lead.
  In late position, bet your middle pair if it is checked around to you.  You may very well be holding the best hand here.  If several players call, you can see Poker Turn card and then reevaluate your position in the hand.  The same goes for virtually any pair when it is checked to you in late position.  For example, you should bet if you hold A-3, the board is K-7-3, and everyone has checked to you.  Most likely, everyone will fold if they are not holding a king.  If you check, you are basically giving up the pot, as someone will probably make a better pair by the river.  However, think twice before betting A-3 if the board shows K-Q-3, as it is too likely that some opponents will call you here due to the presence of the big straight draw.