Flop play is very important in Texas Hold’em. The key to successful flop play is to be able to determine how strong you are after the flop and use that information to your advantage. As you get more experience you will learn how to figure out where you are versus other opponents. Once you know this, you will be able to release unwinnable hands earlier and save yourself money. Being aggressive when you feel you are in the lead is important as it will keep people from chasing draws that will be very expensive to stay in with.

It is critical that you try and figure out how strong your hand is after the flop and act appropriately.

To be able to do this, there are certain questions you have to ask yourself after the flop.

What hand do you have after the flop (top pair, a set, high card, a flush draw, etc.)? Did anyone raise preflop? What do you know about them (raise everything, good tight player, etc.)?
Are you going to act before or after the raiser?
How many players are in the hand?
Is there a chip advantage on either side?

When someone bets before you, unless you are holding a quality hand or you feel that you are a favorite, it is best to fold.

Because your call relies on you knowing the proper pot odds, it makes this an important decision. Since you are being forced to act on someone else’s bet, you have to take into account they may have you beat already or have nothing at all. Being able to properly calculate pot odds on the fly will help with these decisions immensely.

That does not mean you have to fold every time, but in order to stay in a tight mode, you want to only call bets when you know you have a top hand for the board.

Every so often it is actually better to call some of these bets or re-raise the original better to mix up your play and not be marked as too tight.

The optimal times to call are when you are in a large multi-way pot and you are drawing to a huge hand like a nut flush or open ended straight draw. It is important to never chase the long shot hands when you are already beat, better to play the strong starting hands and let the flop carry you to the win. When you call with sub optimal hands, you are setting yourself up to miss those draws and cost yourself valuable bets.

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