Basic Texas Holdem Strategy – After the Flop

As suggested above, if you start with a pair and don’t pull a 3rd of that kind on the flop, you’re treading in dangerous waters. 3-of-a-Kind is not that hard to come by, and at a poker table of 6-10 people, if you don’t have one by the time the flop comes, there’s a good chance someone else does.

Speaking of 3’s, many people chase flushes and straights with only three cards towards them (ie. three hearts or 9-10-J of any suit) after the flop – called Three-to-a-Straight or Three-to-a-Flush, depending. This is more often a losing battle than not and therefore generally considered unplayable. The odds of the next (and only) two remaining cards – the Turn and the River – both filling out your potential straight or flush are so slim that you’re better off bluffing (if feasible, based on the cards on the table) or cutting your losses and folding out of the hand.

The exception to this is if you have Three to a Straight Flush. This may be worth investigating a little further. The odds are still slim, but depending on how much it costs to stay in, it may be worth it to see if you can nail this rare and killer hand.

If you have four to a straight, you’d be best served distinguishing whether it’s an Inside Straight Draw (ie. 4-5-7-8) or an Outside Straight Draw (ie. 4-5-6-7). As should be obvious, the odds of pulling that straight are significantly better for an outside straight draw than an inside one, to the point where the former is often worth playing and the latter usually not.The exception to this is an outside straight draw with an Ace (either A-2-3-4 or J-Q-K-A) as in each instance there is still only one card that can help you, not two, making an outside straight draw with an Ace as hard to make as any inside straight draw.

Now you know the basics – the hands typcially worth staying in and those that aren’t. This, of course, is with Bluffing notwithstanding, but we’ll save the intricate topic of bluffing for another article altogether. In the meantime, you can now at least feel confident sitting in at a Texas Holdem table knowing in the most basic sense what hands to hold and what hands to fold.

As in life, though, nothing in poker is that simple, which is why we’ve given this article a companion piece on Texas Holdem psychology or Playing the Player. This will give you a deeper insight into what’s really going on behind those hole cards and poker faces. So read on, if you dare…!

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