The Flop in Poker

Your Hand                 Flop

KC, KH                      QD, 6H, 3S

Any time you have an overpair to the flop it is usually favourable. You should get plenty of action from anyone holding a queen with a good kicker. The only real danger on this flop is trips. If somebody raises you, it’s a judgement call on your part which of the two they have – queen with good kicker or trips.


Your Hand                 Flop

8D, 8H                      KH, 8S, 3S

This is an excellent flop. Only three kings beat you at this stage. If somebody has three kings, there’s really nothing you can do except lose your money. Only world champions are capable of throwing away middle set in Texas Hold ‘Em. If someone bets, raise. If you bet and are raised, you might as well put all your money in and hope they put theirs in. If they’ve got a flush draw, you’re about a 3 to 1 favourite to win. Good luck.


Your Hand                 Flop

AS, KS                       AH, 8D, 3S

Any flop to ace-king containing either an ace or a king is generally favourable. If you bet in this example, many players with A-Q or A-J (or even A-10 or A-9) will raise, giving you an ideal opportunity to get all your money in with only a slim chance of being outdrawn. The main danger here is somebody playing an A-3 suited or an A-8 suited. Since a lot of players will play any ace, you’ll often run into two pair. Remember also that whenever an ace flops, there’s always a chance of a straight on the next card. (This is because the ace plays at the high and low end of a straight. If you don’t believe me, put out a flop containing an ace and any two random cards. You can always find a card that will complete a straight). So, in general, play your hand strongly to discourage people drawing against you.


Your Hand                  Flop

KS, QS                       QD, 9S, 5S

Here you have top pair with a good kicker and a king-high flush draw. Although you don’t have the best possible kicker, or the best draw, because you have both covered you can never be drawing dead. In other words, if somebody is playing against you with the ace-flush draw, you don’t want a spade to fall, but your queens are winning. On the other hand, if someone has ace-queen or trips, you are behind, but you have a lot of cards that can win the pot for you.
This two-way hand illustrates a general principle. If you are considering committing all your chips (in a tournament or cash game) try to pick a spot where, if you are behind, you still have a fair chance to win. A good example for not committing all of your chips would be the following:


Your Hand                   Flop

AS, AC                        9D, 8D, 7D

If an opponent bets into you here, what should you do? If it were for my whole stack, I would pass. It’s true you may be ahead. He may have only the bare ace of diamonds, or a hand like 10-9, giving him a pair and straight draw. In these cases, you still have a good chance to win. However, if he has a flush or a jack -10 for a straight, you are almost dead. In a situation where you are either slightly ahead or way behind, pass. It doesn’t matter that you’ve got pocket aces which are the very best starting hand you can get, just pass them – it’s allowed.


Your Hand                   Flop

6S, 5S                         JH, 5D, 5C

Here you’ve flopped the bottom two pair. This is probably winning, but you must play your hand on the flop. If there’s a bet, that player probably has a jack or an overpair. You’re winning, so get your money in. The worst thing that can happen to your hand is for another jack to fall on fourth street. If that happens, your two pair are worthless (actually you’ve got three pair) and, if there’s a bet, you must pass. In addition, any connecting card to the jack (8 through queen) is dangerous as is an ace. So raise and hope your opponent passes. If your opponent does call and one of these cards falls on fourth street, be careful – your opponent may have made two pair.


Your Hand                    Flop

AS, 10S                        10D, 10H, 3C

This is a big flop to your hand. You have trips with the best kicker and it is very unlikely that a player will have stayed with a 10-3. Hopefully, you’ll get action from somebody with K -10, J -10 etc. Few players will lay down the other 10 in these circumstances and you have little chance of being outdrawn. Your only real worry is somebody with pocket threes who has turned what is described as the ‘underfull’ (full house to the lowest card on the flop). If that happens there is not much you can do about it, so it’s back to the drawing board.