The first of the four bidding rounds allows you to see the first three cards on the board. This is known as the flop. After the flop, you’ll know 71% of your final hand (5 cards out of 7). Thus, a single bid allows you to see more than 2/3 of your cards. Following this, the ratio of bids to cards dealt is compeltely reversed: the bids are normally higher at the turn and the river.
This means that in order to avoid the mistake of committing yourself to carrying on with an unpromising poor hand that could soon cost you dear, it’s vital to make the right decision at the flop. So, when should you raise, fold or call after the flop?
You may raise in the following situations:
- - If you have a high pair before the flop and the flop leads you to believe that you’re holding the nuts.
E.g. A pair of Kings and the flop: 4-8-10
- If your starting hand is considerably improved by the flop.
E.g. King-Queen and the flop: 7-King-Queen
- If the flop offers you a hand with considerable potential when your opponents haven’t raised.
E.g. Ace-Queen of Clubs and the flop: 2 of Clubs, 4 of Hearts, Jack of Hearts
- If you don’t have a pair before the flop and the flop doesn’t improve your hand.
- If you have a good hand before the flop but the flop turns out to be risky and the bets have been raised to a considerable extent.
E.g. Queen of Hearts – Queen of Spades and the flop: King of Spades – King of Clubs – 7 of Hearts
In this situation, you have a double King/Queen pair. However, your hand still isn’t very good. Your opponent who holds a King now has a three of a kind and is the strong favourite. Don’t hesitate to fold. Knowing when to fold means knowing how to save money.
- If the flop offers you a hand with considerable potential
E.g. Ace and Queen of Clubs and the flop: 2 of Clubs, 4 of Clubs, Jack of Hearts
- If you have a second hand or a draw and the fact that your opponents have only managed modest raises means that you’re not going to lose much by seeing another card.