Flop, turn & river

Flop on tableIn Texas hold'em the cards that are placed by the dealer on the board are called community cards and this happens in three phases. Flop, turn and river is the names of the three phases in a poker hand. This is not the case in all poker variations, but you will face this order in the most popular games as Texas hold'em and Omaha.

The first three cards are dealt together and are called the flop, the next card is the turn and the very last card is the river. These two last phases are also called streets (4th street and 5th street respectively) and there's betting rounds on every street. There's also a dividing of before and after the flop: pre-flop and post-flop.

So in other words we can separate a hand in poker in four phases with following betting rounds. This of course will create some strategical circumstances.

Some players are very reluctant to fold their hands before all cards have been revealed. Calling bets with mediocre holdings only because you want to see if your hand will improve or to be absolutely sure that the opponent has you beaten is very far from an optimal strategy.

There's certainly some cases when calling is the right approach, but only when our odds is positive. The other reason not to be calling on every street with a mediocre hand is that we allow the opponent to decide the size of the pot.

In poker, we don't want negative odds and we don't want to be passive. Instead we want to operate either before the flop or directly after it – this said in general, not as a strict rule.

The operating before the flop is primarily based on the strength of our hole cards. In another article, the benefits of patience were pointed out and it should be said that a good player in poker is a disciplined player (this is probably true in all sorts of gambling forms). This means that a great number of starting hands should be folded immediately. We discuss more about starting hands criteria's in another article.

The action directly after the flop is critical. Here we must plan our actions for the rest of the entire betting round. A good acting is not just call to wait and see what's going to happen. Let's say we have a draw, in this case we must consider the odds and also the value (how big is the pot going to be) of making the hand.

If we need a card to make a straight, but there's two suited card on the board that's also is paired, where is immense risk that even if we make the straight we will be beaten by a flush or a full house. Or maybe be forced to lay down the straight in a later betting round facing a very big bet. This is an example of bad planning.

Therefore, the best action is in most cases to either to fold directly or to make a bet or raise. By betting or raising we get information from the opponent's response and not the least, we get a chance of winning the pot right away. This is a solid way to play poker.

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