Knowing how to play post flop is extremely important to your post flop game. Certain hands can be played differently depending on the availability of the flop and your position in the pot. Once you have position in the pot you are at the ideal place to take your shot with a big hand, however, if you have not post flop position in the pot you will have to play with a much smaller hand. Your poker post flop strategy will heavily depend on your position in the pot.
If you are sitting in one of the first two positions or the cutoff to the big blind you can take a shot with an ace or a king if no one has raised in front of you. Being in the first position or the cutoff you are at the best position to make a move with suited cards after the flop. If there are no raises in front of you like the last one you are in late position then you can play smaller cards like ace or king. If it’s a blind position and no one has raised in front of you then you can play bigger cards like AK or AQ.
In the middle or later position you can loosen up a little bit and play cheaper hands like medium pocket pairs and sets. You can play more aggressively here if your opponents are not very aggressive. In the blinds you can play aggressively with small pairs and suited cards.
When you are the dealer or the round is over, all the players are now playing with their blinds back in the pot. The whole point of the pre-flop game is to get free money in the pot from the other players. You can’t win every hand in a cash game, so in the end you are looking for pots that are too big to fold. This is where an aggressive betting strategy will help you do this. If you have a very strong hand you can bet aggressively after the flop to chock up the pot so when you hit the flop you have a larger pot to win.
If you are not very comfortable playing aggressively post flop you can also be more comfortable playing a more passive post flop strategy. Here you can wait for a stronger hand and play more slowly. You don’t want to race out in anything but position. If you can wait a bit when you are in later positions you will be able to play more confidently once you are in a better position.
Why Playing a Post Flop Strategy is So Important
Playing aggressively after the flop when you have not played aggressively before is a huge mistake. The biggest mistake is chasing a draw without a plan. Let’s say you limp in with pocket Q’s and flop a set. It would be very unwise to get all invested in the pot and make a quick continuation bet without a Q. You are essentially betting blind on the turn without any information. Unless you have a good read on your opponent’s hand it is generally not advisable to bet without a Q.
The turn is the most crucial part of the post-flop game. Most of the decisions you will make will center on it. wildly betting your stack and missing the flop, or, worse, not making any hand will do nothing but get you out of your depth in a hand.
Your post-flop betting should depend largely on your current position in the hand. If you are in early position and you have not caught anything on the flop you should be folding a hand extremely early. Most of the time you will catch a good hand to increase your stack. If you are in middle or late position and you have caught some cards on the flop you should mostly remain in these positions unless you have a real hand or risk being picked off.
There are exceptions to this. If you are in the small blind and the big blind has just called pokerlounge99, and the flop has a monster or a very strong draw you should be in the hand to see it to the river. In the case of two decent hands a call can be a bit conservative. In the case of a very strong hand two calls are very aggressive.
There is a lot of information available about opponents tendencies at this point. If you are playing against someone who is willing to call with weak hands most of the time, you can expect a raise most of the time. If you are playing someone who is so tight they only play good hands, expect a raise most of the time.
By wide margins, the worst position in the post-flop game is the person who is the first person to act. At this point you have very little information about your opponent, and you really have to base your post flop play on guess work. However, if you know the person who is the first to act, you can at least call a bet to see the flop or make a continuation bet to try and take down the pot.