Once You Pay for the Gremlin in the Flop...


Always remember before paying for the flop, a loose playing style is a loser in the long run. Check that statistics tool your online poker room software came equipped with. Check your flop percentage. Out of every 100 hands, in how many do you pay for the flop? If the figure is at or over 40% you are probably a loose player.


A hand of Hold’em is kind of like betting on a team throughout the World Cup. You don’t want to do it all the time. Not every pocket is good. Indeed, implied in the 40% threshold is that 60% of hands are almost certain losers. Be sure to reference some information on which pockets are good starters and which will probably bring you a loss.


The question is this. Now that you have paid for the flop, does it make sense to put more in the pot? To really delve into the fine points of this question requires knowledge of pot odds and playing styles. The potential (perceived) value of any given hand will vary depending on player tells, positioning, and the statistical likelihood of finishing a hand given objective information, i.e. what cards can you see for sure, and which amount are in the pockets of other players?


The following is an outline of generalities. If you are relatively new to online poker it is a quick and dirty crib sheet, and if you are not so new to online poker it is a handy measuring stick for the specifics of your situation. Most hands will be of the drawing or good variety, so I’ll begin with those, move on the certain losers, and then the winners, unlike real life, will come last.


Out pops the gremlin in the flop. You see you are positioned for a straight or a flush. This is referred to as a ‘drawing hand’, and in a crowded game this is surprisingly good news. High rank cards are probably too spread out among the pockets to pose a likely threat. In poker jargon, this means the implied odds are good for this type of hand. The best tactic here is to inflate the pot in many small doses by keeping other players confident enough to stay in the hand. Don’t over-bet and scare people away.


A good hand is only slightly more common than a drawing one. Generally speaking, to have a good hand means to have aces, faces, or both. The most common good hand is a high ranking pair with an ace or face kicker. You can be aggressive with this hand most of the time. Another opportunity will appear next hand. Aces and kings in the pocket are a good sign. So are two pairs, straights, and sets of even of low denominations. Be aggressive and get people with good and drawing hands that might threaten you to fold. Big raises will really work for you here. Watch, however, for pre-flop raises and then raises again after the flop. If a couple of people behind you do this it is probably time to fold.



A low pair is almost certainly a loser. Unless you’re a hustler, stay away from them. Furthermore, do not be tempted by an ace high. Sure the next two cards might make it a three of a kind or high pair, but the odds of this occurring is so desperately low that it is best not to give it a try, at least not with a money pot. Maybe you could bluff your way through against really tight players, but loose players (of which there are many online) will call just about any bluff.


Finally, there are the certain winners. The highest full house or flush will put you firmly in this group. If this is your fortune, you probably need not worry about winning. Concentrate instead on getting people to throw as much as possible into the pot. The highest two pair or sets will win, statistically, most of the time. Just stay on alert for signs of other players with drawing flushes or straights.



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