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After the Flop

Post-Flop Play

If you've assessed your hand and measured it against the flop, here is how to proceed - be it a made hand or a drawing hand, or a strong or marginal holding.

We have seen in this chapter how a flop can affect your hand and potentially improve your opponent's. And once you have assessed where you stand post-flop, you will need to decide how to progress.

As always, there are numerous variables and factors that will inform your decision, and some players will deviate from hard-and-fast rules depending on the specific circumstances. But you should bear in mind a few simple guidelines before making your post-flop decisions.

PLAYING MADE HANDS V DRAWING HANDS

If you flop a monster or very strong made hand you have two clear tasks:

  1. Build a big pot for you to win at showdown
  2. Protect your hand against draws

Remember, a made hand is one that already has the potential to win the pot at showdown. It cannot improve very much and the only way it can be beaten is if your opponent manages to hit a draw. 

The best way to get more chips into a pot is to bet and raise heavily and to force your opponent(s) to at least match your bets. If you bet and raise the correct amount, you make the pot unattractive for people with draws to continue. They may decide to make a bad play and hold on to their draws in the attempt to beat you, but they are making a mistake if they do so.

With your made hand you don't need additional cards to improve. You "only" need to be sure you hold the better hand and get to the showdown with as much money as possible in the middle for you to win.

It therefore follows that betting and raising is almost always the correct approach with a monster made hand.

Playing monster made hands is easier than a lot of other elements of poker, but it is still a very valuable skill to acquire.

In the following examples you will see how playing a monster hand strongly can be the most profitable play. These examples are taken from a cash game, but the same principal applies in whatever type of game you are playing.


Click here to view examples as text
 

    1. You hold  in late position and raise to $10 after two calls. One player calls your raise. The flop comes  which gives you a set. You bet $18. No need to slowplay.
    2. You hold . The player in MP1 raises, MP2 calls, you call as well. The flop comes . This flop is great for you but there is a flush draw. The initial raiser bets $20 and his bet gets called. You should raise to $80 and make build a bigger pot.

In both cases you have played aggressive poker. That means you raised your strong hands before the flop and as you hit your strong hand on the flop you took every chance to bet and raise. And this is exactly the right play.

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