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FATHOMING THE FLOP Obviously if you decide your hole cards are worth playing you will be studying the flop as it comes down with a view to how you might develop your hand. There is however a secondary issue at this point which a new player needs to keep very much in mind. Look at the flop for its potential to others at your table as well as your self. For example, if the flop produces a pair of aces and an unsuited king you’ll know that if one of your opponents has pocket rockets there’s the possibility you’re up against a “four of a kind”. This kind of intel needs to factor into your thinking as you head down into the turn card. Once the turn card is dealt face up it will be more obvious what hands can (and definitely cannot) be out there to threaten your position. Let’s assume that after the turn has been dealt we have four cards on the board which are all of different suits. Well, right away this tells you a flush is going to be impossible, even at the river. Let’s assume someone has two spades as their hole cards. It follows by simple deduction that if there’s a third spade available on the board, even if the river produces another spade, the maximum number of cards available for a “spade flush” will be four.
This is good news for anyone nursing two pair. Again, by studying the board at this stage it will be apparent to you if a straight is possible. Clearly if there are two cards of the same value on the board by this stage the threat of a possible straight being out there is vastly reduced.
If you’re still in the game at the river you will swiftly be able to see how many other potential hands have now been eliminated, assisting you in evaluating your desire to pursue the pot or not. If the river produces a low pair on the board and you are holding a high pair, you may want to consider a raise as the emergence of another same value card on the board will have made the potential for any straight highly unlikely and we have already observed a flush isn’t possible. There will of course remain the threat of a Full House.
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