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Pre & Post Flop Odds

Pre-Flop Odds

Odds of being dealt

Pocket Aces 220:1
Ace-King Suited 330:1
Ace-King Off suit 110:1
Ace-King Suited or Off suit 82:1
Pocket Aces or Kings 110:1
Pocket Aces, Kings, or Ace-King 46:1
Any Pocket Pair 16:1
Any Two Suited 3.3:1

Now take some time to think about what your looking at. What does the above chart tell you? Actually it's a wealth of information about your opponent's hand.

If you "limp" in with "suited connectors" and someone raises there's a reasonable chance they are holding a "pocket pair" or some combination of "over cards".

If someone in a later position re raises, you can almost always put them on a big "pocket pair" or at minimum Ace-King (this is unless they bluff often).

So based purely on your cards, what do you do here. The decision is easy, FOLD.

Remember we're only considering your cards here. This has nothing to do with pot odds, implied odds, position, etc., we will get into all those later in strategy. The absolute worse thing you can do here (based on just cards) is to chase the flush or straight and hope you get lucky.

Post-Flop Odds

Odds of What You'll Make on the Flop

Pocket Pair making a Set 8.3:1
Pocket Pair making a Full House 136:1
Pocket Pair making Four of a Kind 407:1
Two Suited Cards making a Flush 118:1
Two Suited Cards making Four to a Flush 8.1:1
Two Suited Cards making Three to a Flush 1.4:1

As they say "this is where the rubber meets the road". The complexities of the game change drastically here.

A limper with a weak starting hand may have become strong. A flat caller with a weak starting hand may have just become strong enough to begin his chase to the river. The raiser may have lost all of his advantage or may have become unbeatable.

Now it's time to think about your opponent's past play, and how he is reacting to the flop. You should begin to see why having the patience to wait for strong pre flop hands is essential to your long term success.

Here is when the questions should begin going off in your head. How many players are in the hand? Who, if anyone raised pre flop and where are they in position to you? How many players are left to act behind you and lastly how much money is in the pot?

Position becomes critical here. If you are first to act, do you bluff, even with the nuts, or do you check and wait. If you check you must watch the reactions of the players behind you. Start to compare these actions to hands played previously.

Try and think about how the player has acted before and get a "read" on how strong his hand really is. More in No Limit than in Limit, sometimes a bet says more than a 1000 words.

If you have been patient and are strong to begin with, then got a good flop, always be thinking about how to maximize the amount of chips you will win. Will a bet or a check raise scare your opponent away? If you do have the "nuts" and know you cannot be drawn out on, smooth calling is a good way to maximize your value. If on the other hand there is a possibility you will be out drawn, aggressiveness may head off a possible bad beat on the river.

There are many different ways to maximize the value of your hand, but there is really just one way to ruin a hand. That is to simply overplay it when you know you are now second best. Even if you had the patience and went in way ahead pre flop, there will be times when you are second after the flop. Now you need to start to think about the amount of "outs" you have and compare those odds with the pot odds.

DO NOT make the mistake in thinking the odds will change just because. They won't and they don't. If you are not in a good position to win, not wasting your chips in a poor situation, is almost as good as winning. Your time will come and you will have the hand, in the proper position, and you opponent will play into you. Then and only then, play with the aggression you have learned and maximize the value you know is there.