Being a Flop Monster
The flop is the street in Texas Hold’em poker where the first three community cards are revealed. This is a lot of extra information that is added into the thought process of the hand. You are now beyond preflop play where there is a lot more going on than just having two cards no one can see. There is now the possibility of players having draws of all sorts. There are players who like to call down if they have made even second pair. There are players who habitually slow play big pocket pairs that you have to watch out for. Players can also have a pocket pair that has now made three of a kind.
Knowing how to play the flop is equally as important as the other streets, if not more. Since there are more cards that have been presented it is harder for you to figure out what your opponent could be holding. There are a few good things to know about playing on the flop that will help you to make more money.
When you raise preflop and get called you then go to the flop with your opponent. It is a common bluff. It would make sense to bet if you hit and to check if you didn’t, but there is a much better play. It is called a continuation bet. When you raise preflop and bet the flop unimproved you have made a continuation bet. This is one of the most valuable plays in poker.
When you continuation bet and get called it is important that you know when to leave the hand. If your continuation bet does get called and you improve on the turn then you can continue to bet if you think you think you currently have the best hand. If you do improve your hand, but it completes a draw you have to be very weary of how your opponent reacts. You don’t want to set yourself up to lose a lot of money.
When you continuation bet you want to take the pot down right there without any resistance from your opponents. Knowing when it is more likely that you opponent hasn’t hit the flop as well can make it a lot easier to know when to continuation bet or when to check.
A dry flop is a flop that it is very rare your opponent has connected with it at all. There are no draws and not too many high cards. An ideal flop to continuation bet on would be 24K of all different suites. Since you raised preflop, if your opponent doesn’t have a king then they are more than likely going to fold. Bad players like to call a lot with hands like middle suited cards and even just two broadway cards. You see hands like KT and Q9 calling down a lot because of straight draws and gutshot straight draws. You want one high card and then two lower cards that aren’t connected or suited when you continuation bet.
A wet flop is exactly the opposite of a dry flop. A wet flop normally has a lot of draws in it. An example of a wet flop that you would never consider continuation betting at would be QT9 with two being suited. There are too many hands there that connect with that board in the range of most players. KT flopped a pair and a gutshot. Q9 has made two pair. A jack has a straight draw. Two suited cards of the suite have a flush draw. You have to not only have to worry about all of these hands but also if your opponent has a hand like AQ and has made top pair.
Another big thing that you have to watch out for when playing the flop is the different player styles. You want to adjust your play accordingly with how your opponent is playing. If your opponent is playing loose then you should play tight. If they are playing tight then you should play loose.
If your opponent is a loose player then you’re going to be continuation betting on the flop even less. This is because they will call your continuation bet on a board of let’s say K86 more often when they have A8 or other such hands. Then the times that they do call and actually have the K you can be setting yourself up to get stacked. Overall you just want to make your decision making a lot easier against your opponents, and since loose players are so unpredictable it is better to bluff less against them.
If your opponent is a tight player then you are going to be continuation betting a lot more against them. They fold so often to pressure that it is almost always correct to attempt betting on the flop. With these players it is a lot easier to get away from hands as opposed to the loose player. When you are called by the tight player on the flop there is no question whether you are going to take your second pair hand any farther because you can almost be sure you are beat.
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