The flop is the most important time of the hand in Texas Hold’em. It’s important to determine immediately whether your hand has any value before you start betting, calling or raising the pot. A lot of people would say that the turn is even more important than the flop because the betting and stakes are a lot higher. But calling a bet after the flop should not be something you should be doing if you are trying to make a speculative hand.
If you have a marginal hand, lets say you hit the 2nd pair on the board with three other people betting behind you. There’s no way that you should be calling more than a modest bet from the other players. A lot of times, the marginal hands that you hit will be beaten, say by a higher two pairs or a three of a kind. People often lose all or most of there chips playing in hands that they should not have been playing.
Here’s a look at the most important things you should consider after the flop has come:
Strength of Your Hand
Exactly how strong is your hand? Do you need to protect your hand or can you slow-play? If your drawing for a flush or a straight how good is the possibility of completing your hand? These are a lot of the things you have to ask yourself.
For Example: Three people have called ahead of you and you have pocket Kings. You have to raise the bet at least three blinds to get some of the other bettors out. There are way to many bad things that can happen on the flop for you to just call and try to suck someone else in.
Number of Opponents Playing in the Hand
The more people you are playing against, the better the chances are of someone hitting a big hand. Pay attention to possible flushes and straights. If a tight player raises big, get out of the hand unless you know you have the pot.
If several people straight call, it might be the right time to try to get a cheap straight or flush. If you suspect others are trying to ride the flop for free, raise three times the blind to protect your high cards. Most of the marginal hands will be folded once they realize someone might have a hand.
What Cards Came on the Flop?
I know that I’m repeating this a little, but it is an important point. You have to be aware of the following types of flops:
All High Cards – If you don’t have any, it means you fold on the first bet. There can be anything from a dominant two pairs or high straight draws.
A Pair on the Board – When this happens with multiple players, someone is likely to have the third card in their hand. When there are two pairs on the board, people can tend to play the “Who has the Ace?” game. This is a perfect time to surprise people with a higher pocket pair or the full boat. You just don’t want to bet it as if you had the nuts, though, if you were looking for a call.
The Pot Size – The size of the pot should make a huge difference in the way that you bet your hands. If three or more other people called a 3 times the big blind bet, you should bet hard and force others out if you landed a dominant hand. Don’t let people see the cards for cheap in that situation, that is the best way to lose all of your chips. If the pot is small on the other hand, you can afford to get beaten by someone who is slow-playing a monster.
Three Suited or Three Connectors – Warning! Large hand possibility! If the people you are betting against are all checking, you have to put a bet out on the board for your top pair. You have to make them decide if they want to chase. If you get re-raised, you are going to want to think about the quality of your hand before you decide to call.
Pot Odds – If someone raise the $25-$50 blinds by $500, you better have an awfully good hand to call them. If three people or more are in the pot before you and you are short stacked, go all in and try to double up or chase others out if you have anything considerably fair to good in your hand. If someone bets $200 on a $1500 pot, you should call it because if you don’t have anything in your hand, you shouldn’t have been calling in the first place.