Holdem Strategy : No Raise Before the Flop

If there has been no raise before the flop in texas holdem, how would play your hand from the flop on? Most of the situations, you will play tighter since more possible hands may be out and you are getting smaller pot odds. Suppose the flop comes with a small pair. If there was an early position raiser and two callers, you could be somewhat sure that no one has a third card of the suitable rank. On the other hand, this would not have been the case if there was no raise, especially if many players took the flop (or if the raise came after many players had already called). For example, when the three small cards flop like

Then it is possible that it could have given a straight to someone. It is not likely that a rival would play a 52 or a 75 if the pot was raised pre-flop, especially if the raise came from an early position. There would have been something to think about if there was no raise before the flop.

As reiterated, consider how well your rivals play. As discussed earlier, when a good players have a high card they often raise or fold, depending on their kicker. This means that if there was no raise before the flop and the high card on the flop is a jack or less, it is possible that someone has made high pair. But if the high card high card on the flop is a queen or better, a bluff may be the best play, especially if you are against a small number of rivals. (The exception is when an ace flops and you are against a bad player who no doubt will play any ace.) Also, if one (or more) of your rival is "weak tight" - that is, he will throw away his hand when the board does not hit - then a bluff is even more suitable.

Playing When Two Suited Cards Flop

In case if a two-flush flops, then you have to adjust your play according to the times when three different suits hit. Generally, you should play your good hands more aggressively as there is a good chance that you will be called. You do not want to give free cards, especially against many rivals. Do not slow-play always. If you slow-play and a third suited card comes on the turn, even if this card does not beat you, it could give a rival a draw that, if finished, would win the pot.

If you have an average hand but worth a bet, it is correct to check. This is because you might run into raises or be outdrawn, even if you have the best hand. Still you should bet on fourth street if the flush card does not come and you think there is a reasonable chance that your hand is the best hand.
For example in a multi-way pot, you are in the blind and call a raise with

And the flop is

As the pot is big, you should go for a check-raise to knock out the players holding the hands like gut shots. (Notice that the players with flush-draws and open-end straight draws will come anyway.) This concept is true if before the flop raiser was in a late position and you think that he will bet automatically. But if the pot is small so that players with poor draws such as gut-shot were getting wrong odds, it may be correct to go on the flop and then try for a check-raise on fourth street.

Playing When a Pair Flops

Although it is less known fact that it is profitable to bluff when a pair flops, especially if the flop does not include a straight draw.

When making this play, you should remember that a good player will sometimes backfire at you. That is he will think that it is likely for you to be making this bluff and raise you with a weak hand. When you consider that this might be the case, you should consider taking it to a third bet and then betting the remaining hand. However, don't do this automatically and again remember to consider your rivals play.

When you sometimes have many rivals, you can make a "delayed bluff." If you are in an early position, instead of betting immediately when a pair flops, it is correct to check. Now if a good player bets from a last position and you think he is capable of bluffing at this point you can call if no one else has entered the pot. If no one calls behind you, you can bet into your rival on fourth street. Here you have slow-played and are also capable to pick up the pot. Notice that it appears as though you are called in the expectation of getting some other players between you and the bettor and you fear that he won't bet if you check. Also notice that if you do get any callers between you and the bettor then your play is deteriorated.

For example in a multi-way pot, the flop comes

You check from an early position and a strong player bets in a late position you then call and there are no other players in the pot. It is better to go ahead and bet on the turn regardless of what the card hits. Your rival might also throw away his queen. (This is why you want to be against a strong player when making this bluff.) Remember that most of the player will never bet on the flop if they held a six. This play becomes better against such kind of rivals.1

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