The flop is the pivotal time of decision in a round of Texas hold’em Poker. It is the one round in the game where the most information is revealed at one time. By the time all three flop cards have landed you should have a pretty good idea of where you are at in the poker hand. Learning to play poker properly on the flop is one of the most crucial lessons to learn in Texas hold’em.
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The flop is where money is won and lost. In most low limit Texas Hold’em games the best strategy to take on the flop is to bet what you have. If you have a solid poker hand, bet it out. There is no time or reason to sit around and slow play in a low limit poker game on the flop. There are however situations from time to time where bluffing on the flop can be advantageous.
We will specify three reasons for bluffing on the flop:
- A true act of deception with the intention of winning the pot right then and there
- A bet or a raise made with the intention of gather information about opponents holdings
- To confuse or mix up your opponents
Bluffing on the flop as a pure act of deception can be tricky in a low limit US online poker game and more feasible in a medium to higher limit game. In a low limit game many players naturally call, so a straight out bet as a bluff has a lower chance of success. If you are to try one though, there are a few situations that are better than others:
When everyone has quickly checked around the table, the flop may not have hit anyone, make an aggressive opening bet to end contention for the pot quickly.
If a big scary board comes like AAK and no one raised pre flop, this might be a good situation to make a check raise against a moderate to good opponent. If they don’t fold right away on the flop (which often times they wont) many times they will give things up on the turn.
Many times a bluff can be made with the hopes of taking down the pot, or to find out where your opponents are at. This type of bluff can come in the form of a bet or a raise. Usually a strong bet from early position will get you the information you needed to know while a well timed raise from middle or late position could give an indication as to what the initial bettor has. Did they raise you back or just call?
This type of bet on the flop really serves as a semi bluff and a research session. You should do this when you have a hand that might stand up given the current board, but you shouldn’t do something like this with a weak hand unless you plan to stick with it the whole way and you are fairly confident your opponent’s holdings are weak.
Bluffing On The Flop To Confuse
Using deception on the flop is a great way to confuse and throw off your opponents. It is also a necessary part of a sound Texas hold’em strategy. Once again these kinds of plays are usually better if done in a semi bluff fashion. Rather than just betting with your top pair, try a check raise.
Another trick would be to dramatically increase the amount of times you are willing to raise for a given hand and put your opponents to the grindstone to find out what you have. While these may not be clear as day “bluffs” in the normal sense of the word, they are attempts at deception with the intent to confuse your opponents.