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Betting on the Flop

If you see the flop and are genuinely undecided between checking and betting poker, you should usually choose to bet.  Betting is betting for several good reasons.  You don’t give any free not have called if you had bet on the flop.  You give the drawing hands the worst possible odds to play their hands.  You could win the hand right there without a contest.  And you will win a bigger pot if you do win the hand.

  There are several specific times when you’d want to bet it right out on the flop if you’re first to bet or it has been checked to you

  • You Flopped a Good Hand

You don’t want to give any free cards.  You expect to win the hand if no one else improves.  A good example would be if you have A ♥ K♦ and the flop is K ♣8♠ 3♥ against one or two players. You are a big favorite if the callers also have a King in the pocket.

  • You Raised Pre-flop

You’re representing a big pair in the pocket.  Even if you missed your hand, you will often have the best hand at this point and no one will want to play to draw out on you.  Even a player who flopped a weak pair with a bad kicker will usually throw his hand away.

  • You Think a Player on Your Left Will Raise

And you don’t mind.  You want the players behind him to call a raise cold because it helps protect your hand.  You have K ♥ T ♦ and the flop is K ♠ J ♣ 7ª.  If you check, you risk giving a free card to the flush and straight draws.  If you check and there’s a bet, you can never be sure of what the bettor has.  If you bet and there’s a raise, you can be pretty sure that the raiser has a king and is trying to protect his hand.  Players with flush draws usually don’t raise in early position because it cuts their pot basic poker odds down and it drives their customers out.

  • You Flopped a Set of Aces

Especially against many players.  When you have two Aces in the pocket and you get one more on the board, you will always be looking at a possible straight draw.  Even if it’s not probable, it’s still possible.  There’s no way you can flop an Aces and two different other cards and not have a straight limit poker draw.  Try it.  Because of this you will usually want to bet it right out and not give any free cards.

  Even if nobody had the straight draw on the flop, the turn card might give them one.  This is especially true if the flop is an Ace and two high cards and the turn is another big card.  You would not have to worry as much with a flop like A ♦ 7♥ 2♣.  Even though a straight draw is possible, it’s not that likely.

  Also, if you flop a set of Aces, you can end up with the nuts if you do not improve.  This is also true with a set of Kings or Queens.  You can flop a set of Kings or Queens and end up with the nuts without improving if the right seven cards stud come for you.  This is why, even though it sounds backwards, you can check a set of Kings or Queens on the flop but not a set of Aces.  This is true only for Kings and Queens.  When you flop a set of Jacks or below you are in the exact same situation you are with a set of Aces.  You cannot make the nuts without improving.

  If there was a lot of betting and raising before the flop and you flop a good hand in late position with an Ace or King on the board, you should be aware that it probably helped someone, whether there’s a bet or not.  It is more than likely that someone is going to check-raise if there’s a bet.  You should bet your good hands for value but you should also occasionally check with that same good hand to vary your play.

  If you flop a good hand, your decision to bet or not depends on the strength of your hand, how many players are in the hand, the chances of getting an overcard on the turn or river, and of course, your estimation of what your opponents are holding.  The more vulnerable you think your hand is, the more inclined you should be to bet to protect it.

  There is a very good way to vary your play in this situation and that is to check and fold even though you have a hand that most Play Poker players would consider to be reasonably decent.  A good example would be holding J ♦ 8♠ with a flop of J ♣ 5♠ 4♦.  Against a large field, I don’t think you lose that much by checking and folding even though you have top pair on the board.  Anyone else holding a Jack most likely has you out-kicked and there may even be a hidden overpair in the pocket out there.