In Texas Hold’em and Omaha poker, the flop stands for the first three common cards that are dealt after an initial round of betting. All players who made the ante bet then examine their hole cards and see what combinations they can make with the flop cards on the table.
The period of time after the hole cards have been dealt but before the first three cards have been dealt is referred to as pre-flop. This is perhaps the most important part of the game, as it’s when you’ll determine whether you want to see the action unfold or whether you want to fold and try again in the next hand.
After the first three community cards have been dealt, all players who took part in the pre-flop betting examine their hole cards and any possible hands they could make with the flop cards. Usually, there are two types of hands you can create on the flop.
Your hole cards, combined with the flop, are a monster hand that needs little, if any, improvement from the turn or the river. Perhaps you’ve landed a straight flush or four of a kind, or the pair in your hand is one of your hole cards combined with the highest flop card. Regardless, you’ll have an advantage over your opponents, provided that you consider your table position and the action of the players behind you as you form your strategy.
If, after the flop, you discover that you have the beginnings of a good hand, you may describe it as a draw. You’ll need to rely on the turn and the river to see if you can complete a hand that gives you a good chance of getting to the showdown. There are a few types of draws:
You have four cards in sequence when you take into account your hole cards and the flop cards. All you need is one more card in sequence to make a straight.
Your hole cards and two of the flop cards give you a shot at making a flush, provided that either the turn or the river yield a card of the same suit as the ones in your hand.
Your hole cards are “monster cards” like A-A, K-K or Q-Q, and the flop cards are of similar suits or are in sequence. Depending on the turn and river cards, you can make either a flush or a straight.
You have the beginnings of a straight, but the middle card is missing. For example, you have 10, 9, 7 and 6 but need a 8 on the turn or the river to complete the sequence.
Your hole cards, when combined with the three flop cards, create two gutshot combinations.
Your hole cards have a higher value than any of the flop cards. While not an ideal situation, it does mean that if a matching card is dealt on the turn or river that you’ll have a high-ranking pair
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