After Flopping A Straight

There are several different ways to flop a straight. I can have the " smart end"—the highest possible straight— or the "dumb" or "ignorant" end, which leaves me vulnerable to a higher straight. The cards on the board may have zero, one, or two gaps between them. Each type of straight requires a slightly different strategy after the flop. The most important underlying fact, however, is that the hand I've flopped is most likely the hand I'm going to finish with.* It's probably not going to improve, and can only get worse.

OR ONE GAP

When I flop the smart end with zero or one gap on the board, I flop the nut straight (the best straight possible), a very powerful hand.

Me

Thè flop

K-fc

J-T-9

Q-lo

J-9-8

I'll usually bet about half the pot if the flop is unsuited, two thirds of the pot if the flop has two of the same suit, or the full size of the pot if all three cards are of the same suit. I'm hoping to get action, and I've found that betting here nets me more action than

* Unless I have a flush draw or a runner-runner flush draw. With a flush draw, my hand will improve to a flush about 35% of the time; with a runner-runner flush draw, 1*11 make a flush about 6.4% the time.

slowplaying. If I fail to bet the flop, there are as many as fourteen scare cards that can cause an opponent to shut down on the turn. For example, in the first case above, any king, queen, eight, or seven is likely to make an opponent with top pair or a set think twice about putting any more money into the middle. I might as wrell bet the flop and get as much as I can before a scare card hits.

OR ONE GAP

When I flop the dumb end of the straight with zero or one gap on the board, I play hyperaggressively and try to protect my hand.

Me

The jFlop

8-7

J-T-9

T-7

J-9-8

There aren't too many cards that can come on the turn that will make me happy. In the first example above, I'm going to be very scared if a king, a queen, or an eight arrives. Any 7 will cause my opponent to shut down.

In this case I'm almost always going to bet the pot. In fact, this is one case where I will often overbet the pot and try to take it down right away.

I am very wary of playing 9-8, suited or otherwise. If the flop comes Q,-J-T and I'm up against A-K, I am going to lose a lot of money. An awful lot of money. A computer analysis shows that 9-8 played against the sorts of hands that an opponent is willing to risk a lot of money on-A-K, K-K, Q,-Q, J-J, T-T, K-Q, K-J, Q-J, K-T, K-9—my pot equity is just 48.5% with that flop.*

-TWO-GAP STRAIGHTS-

There are two ways to flop a two-gap straight and both play just about the same.

; .vMe ■•'

The Flop

J-T

Qr9-8

J-9

Q-T-8

In this scenario there are only six cards that can come on the turn that will slow my opponent down: any

* For adventurous souls who would like to experiment with computer analysis, the best tool I've been able to find on the Internet is called the "Poker Stove" and can be found at www.pokerstove.com.

three of my highest rank and any three of my lowest rank. That's going to happen about six out of forty-seven times, or about 13% of the time.

If the board is suited, I usually bet about two thirds of the pot. Otherwise, I bet about half the pot.

--SLEAZY BAR TRICK fy-

Pick the sucker, take out a deck of cards, and say, "I'm going to remove eight cards from this deck, and I bet you can't make a five-card straight." If they take the bet, remove the tens and fives, hand them the deck, order a double, and then toast me and the Little Green Book. All straights contain either a five or a ten.

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