Texas Holdem Post Flop Strategy
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.
Here is an example: You are holding AcTc, and the flop comes:
Since you already have top pair with a decent kicker, you would want to bet this strongly right off the bat. Anyone holding 2 spades could try for a flush draw, and anyone holding a 2 or 4 could be on an inside straight draw.
How much do I bet?
In general, good players will calculate their pot odds to determine if they should call your bet. Generally, if you multiply your number of 'outs' (the number of cards that can give you the winning hand) by 2, it will give you a rough idea of what your odds are.
I use an even easier rule of thumb to help me remember how much to call:
- On a flush draw (9 outs) - pot size must be at least 5-6x the bet in front of me
- On an open-ended straight draw (8 outs) - pot size must be at least 6-7x the bet
- On a gut-shot straight draw (4 outs) - pot size must be at least 11-12x the bet
So, if you were the person holding 2 spades in the example above, it would not make sense for you to call a bet bigger than the pot size divided by 6. Your bet should be in this ballpark.
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.