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After the Flop

Post-Flop Hand Evaluation

How to re-categorize your hand after a flop: Is it now a monster? Have you picked up any draws? Or are you now holding nothing but trash? Here is how you tell the difference

As discussed in the section about starting hands, the foundation of good no limit Texas Hold'em play is an accurate assessment of your hole cards and an idea of how to proceed with what you have been dealt.

It is crucial to grasp the value of hands pre-flop, taking into account your cards, your table position and the action of the opponents also in the pot. Then you need to act accordingly.

After the flop is dealt you need to repeat the considerations above and add one very important other factor: has the flop increased or decreased the value of your hand? You now have five cards with which to make an assessment of your hand (your hole cards and three community cards) and you need to figure out again how to progress.

But remember the flop may also have helped an opponent, so you also need to consider the number of other players involved, as well as the texture of the flop, before determining how you want to play from here.

This section of the course comprises three lessons, which all combine to determine the correct play after the flop. We will look at determining the strength of your hand (below), then at assessing the texture of the flop, and then how to proceed when all is taken into consideration.


After the flop, hands tend to fall into three categories: "made hands", "drawing hands" and trash. When you have decided into which category your hand falls, you can then make a decision how to progress.

Made Hands

A "made hand" is one that has improved significantly on the flop and has only a slight possibility of improving even further. If you had a pair of pocket aces pre-flop and another ace fell on the flop, you now have top set (three of a kind) and your hand can only really be improved by seeing the final remaining ace (highly unlikely) or by the board pairing to make you a full house.

The important part to note is that this is already a very strong - or "made" - hand.

Made hands can themselves be separated into three groups:

Monster hands: Better than one pair on the flop

 on a flop of 
 on a flop of 

Very strong hands: Very good one pair hands such as top pair with top kicker or an over-pair to the board

 on a flop of 
 on a flop of 

Marginal hands: These are hands like middle pair

 on a flop of 
on a flop of


Drawing Hands

"Draws" are hands that have connected with a flop but that still need improvement to become a made hand. If, for instance, you have , you will be delighted to see a flop of  because you almost have either a straight or a flush. 

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Reading Flops

How to categorize flops and determine whether those first three community cards have increased or reduced the p ...

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