Playing A-x Suited: Bad Flop
Suppose that a jackal has raised the flop, and you have called his raise with Ad- 5d, and then the big blind calls as well. If the flop comes down Js-Qh-3d and the big blind checks and the jackal bets, fold your hand. You have missed the flop (you don’t have either a pair, a straight draw, or a flush draw); you have only two bets in the pot at this point; and you were the caller before the flop, not the raiser. There is no warrant for getting further involved in this hand.
You have 4-4 in the fourth position, and the player in the second position (two seats to the left of the big blind) makes it two bets to go. You’re playing my theory—“three-bet with small pairs”—before the flop, so you make it three bets. No one else calls, and the flop is Q-10-3. The player in the second position then bets out into you and you raise him, thus “representing” a queen (or perhaps K-K or A-A) but also gaining information.
As a game that allows players to exercise their skill along with having a strong element of chance, blackjack has more subtleties than most casino games. It also leaves plenty of room for question and comment. Let’s try to answer a few questions and relay a few comments submitted by readers.
The residual effects of watching thousands of hands has been tremendous for my game, and I’d love to share some observations with you, as I do regularly as an instructor at the WPT Boot Camp. We have taken the time to match WPT footage with specific instructional material.
Check out some of these insider tips on how to change gears during your play.
Knowing how to play the top ten hands in Limit Hold â??em can mean the difference between winning and losing. In this column, 13-time World Series of Poker Champion Phil Hellmuth, Jr. offers some examples of correct play strategy. This is an excerpt from his best-selling book, Phil Hellmuthâ??s Texas Hold â??em available on Amazon.com and major bookstores everywhere.
Of all the poker-based games that have carved out niches in table pits, Three Card Poker pays out its top jackpot the most often. That makes some unusual streaks not only possible, but inevitable given enough play.
In No Limit Hold ’em, all manner of plays are possible. You can fold K-K before the flop or move all-in with 2-7 off suit, bluffing before the flop, if your judgement is good enough. By the way, I’ve folded K-K before the flop only a few times in my life, and every time I did, I was right, because my opponent did indeed have A-A!
Now is the time to tell you that if you introduce NLH to your own home poker game, watch out! The money won and lost can escalate pretty quickly. Before long, the size of the pots will be more than you bargained for.
In this column we typically discuss more advanced Hold â??em strategy. But sometimes, itâ??s good to take a few steps back. And for beginners, I recommend playing only these top 10 starting hands and folding on all others.