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Playing on the Flop

Types of flops:

Basically there are three types of flops: made hands, drawing hands and trash hands.


Made hands


A made hand is a hand that holds value. It can be a nut hand (straight, flush, full house, quads, straight flush or royal flush) or a good hand (three of a kind, two pairs, over pair, top pair). However, all the "good hands" are not always made hands. If the flop is 888 you can't say you have a made hand (3 of a kind). Same goes for two pairs, if one of the pair is on the board, or for the top pair, if the pair is on the board.


Drawing hands


Flush draws and OESDs (open ended straight draws) are considered drawing hands. Be aware that a gutshot (an inside straight draw) is not a drawing hand, considering the small number of outs.


Trash Hands


Trash hands are those that have small chances to improve on the turn and the river, and have no real value. Practically, any hand that is not a made one or a draw it's trash.


Here are some examples of tricky trash hands:


- you hold JJ and the flop is 4, 9, K (you don't have the top pair or an over pair)

- you hold Q9 and the flop is 2, 9, T (you have only a middle pair, so anyone holding a T beats you)

- you hold A9 and the flop is 9, J, J (you have two pairs, but the big pair is on the flop). This is not complete trash, but not a made hand either.

How to play the flop

Made hands should be played aggressively. In most cases a bet is the best option. However, if there are bets before you, the strength of your hand is important. Nuts hands (straights and better) can sometimes be played slow. This means that you can attract more money in the pot by check-calling until the final all-in on the river.


There are two types of playing drawing hands: aggressive and passive. Aggressive play is recommended when you raised pre-flop, and people fear you have a good hand. This is the time to bet, making a semi-bluff. If you just called on pre-flop (or you were big blind) a passive play might be a good option. You should try to see the turn and the river as cheap as possible. Consider just calling if the bets are not high. If the bet is higher than 50% of the pot, you'd better fold.


Trash hands should usually be check/folded. Anyway, there are situations when a bluff could work. This depends on the position, the pre-flop action and the number and type of players still in the game. For example, if you're the latest to bet, have only one opponent who checked (and previously called on pre-flop) you can take a risk and bluff. In most cases he should just fold. Your bet should be around 50% of the pot. If he calls or re-raises you, just fold.


Author: Abscident


This article cannot be reproduced without the permission of the author.

Other poker articles:
- The turn
- The river
- Hand strength


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