Texas Hold ‘Em: Playing the Flop

Sure, there’s a lot of thinking that takes place when you are selecting which hands you’re going to start off with, but the game becomes a real contest when the first round of community cards are dealt and players get to see the real value of what they’re holding. Did those suited connectors start building towards a straight flush or did they become useless? Was that pair of fours you felt weird about betting on worth the risk after the other two hit the felt? Why’s the big guy on your right raising so hard after what looks like garbage was laid out in front of you?

Here are some things you can do when you play online poker to improve your approach to the flop.

Don’t Play Good Cards That Turn Bad

This is the single most common mistake I see players both online and in card rooms at casinos make. They get KA or the like as their whole cards and when the flop hits, they keep chasing a hand that’s never going to happen. Let’s say the flop is something like J98, unsuited. An inexperienced player will try to continue with their cards because, hey, they’re really high and you never know, right? Wrong. The fact is that if someone has just one Jack or 9 or 8, they’ve already beaten you. Chasing the imaginary good hand is basically just piling your chips in the middle of the table for everyone to take as they see fit.

Be Honest About Your Hand

The above ties into our next piece of advice, which is to be frank about the hand that you have versus what it is likely to be played against you by the others. If you’ve got a pair of fours and there’s a four among the community cards, that’s good. If you’ve only got a pair of fours, though, and the guy after you raises sharply, get out. In online poker play, it’s far too easy to just click and keep playing when you shouldn’t. Be your own biggest critic.

If The Play Is Soft, Don’t Be Afraid To Spike It

If you’re in a later position with marginal to good cards with players that have proven soft only calling or checking before you, take a risk. Push things up and see who backs away. This is a great way to get more chips in your pot without much risk, but you don’t want to do this very often or the others will catch onto it.