Texas Holdem Post Flop Strategy - part 2
In general, if you don't hit your hand right away, you should not be calling bets down and hoping for a miracle card. Play tight, but aggressive.
Always THINK before you act. In a strong table, most players will be holding high cards, so a low flop like 257 shouldn't scare you away too quickly. Always check for flush and straight draws on the flop. If there is a possible 3-straight, or at least 2 cards of the same suit, you want to bet people out of the pot early so they won't attempt to draw.
I'm the person holding cards to draw with. How should I play these?
In general, it is in your best interest to try to see free cards by checking. However, if you feel that your opponent might be weak ( especially if it is just one of the blinds left ), this may be an excellent time for a semi-bluff. Here, you make a fairly strong bet, in hopes that the other person will fold. It is not an entire bluff, because you still have a chance at making your hand. (On a flush draw, you have roughly a 32% chance of catching your flush if you see the next 2 cards).
I have a low-medium pocket pair, but there are overcards on the board...what now?
The rule of thumb for playing lower pocket pairs is to only see the flop if you can do it CHEAPLY. Once the flop comes, you want to get out as fast as possible if you don't catch your trips. If you miss and can check around to see another free card, do so. I would advise against betting here unless the board is all low rags.
I have a monster hand. Should I slow-play it?
This depends on two main factors: What the flop looks like, and who are you playing against.
First check the flop. Say you caught your trips with a pocket pair, but the board is showing 2 cards of the same suit. You would not want to slow-play this hand, because someone may catch their flush and beat you out. Your ideal flop to slow-play would be a rainbow board (one of each suit), and some high cards to draw money out. It is also important to note pairs on the board, which can lead to full houses. These are also flops that should usually not be slow played.
Next, consider the player. Some loose players are 'calling-stations', and will call almost any small bet you put in front of them. It may be easier to slowly ramp up your bets to the river rather than making one large bet at the end. If you are facing a very tight player, it may be wiser to check your way to the river, and let them try to steal the pot at the end with a good sized bet. At that point, you can raise their final bet and take their money.