Playing The Flop In Limit Texas Hold’em
Wednesday, 30. December 2009

Texas Hold’em – especially Limit Hold’em – is currently the most popular card game in the world –and perversely, the most “misleading” to novices and intermediate players. There is a misconception that the game is very simple – that one need only watch the pot to make his decisions. If it gets big enough, call and watch the cards roll out.

This is a recipe for disaster, especially for new or intermediate players who enter a game populated by seasoned players. There is a reason why inexperienced players have been called (rather unkindly) as either donkeys, muppets or fish – easy prey for the predators out there.

The Turning Point
One of the most overlooked areas in playing limit Hold’em is the matter of flops. Many players know that the flop is important, since this is where you start building your winning hand and is usually the time where opponents start dropping out.

There are two crucial issues that must be resolved in flop play. First, it is of utmost importance to determine your hand’s strength in relation to the other players’ hands. Second, it is during flop play that you usually determine whether you will fold, call or raise.

Flop Play Checklist
How many players have survived the pre-flop betting? If you were thinking of pulling a bluff, and you’re playing at a full table – reconsider your plan. Experienced players have commented that it is difficult to pull a bluff in such cases. SOMEONE will always take a shot at you – either because he has a better hand than you or out of sheer bloody-mindedness.

During pre-flop play, monitor the other players carefully. Mark the positions of those who’ve raised pre-flop and anticipate follow-up actions from them. Consider their actions carefully – raising pre-flop may be an indication of good hole cards or the start of a bluff.

What position do you have? If you’re in a late position, consider yourself lucky. You can watch the game unfold and plan your moves accordingly. Landing in an earlier position only means you need to work extra hard.

Study the cards on the board. Remember, this is where you will be making your hand – and, conversely, where the other players will be looking to make THEIRS. It would be immensely important for you to determine what combination your cards can form as well as to consider what the others can conceivably form with their cards.

Check the pot odds carefully. This is an essential element in your calculations for you’ll be bale to tell if winning the pot is worth the cost.

Limit Hold’em is NOT the mechanical card game that many people think it is. Behind every successful game is a large dose of strategy and mathematics, which makes the game one of skill.

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