All The Aces Daily Poker Column

Playing Poker Beyond The Flop

Is there a general rule for taking a hand past the flop?

Beyond the Flop
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New poker players are always asking if there’s a general rule for taking a hand beyond the flop. Our straightforward answer to a beginner would be if you don’t have a high pair and a big kicker (side card) you shouldn’t go beyond the flop. Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you’re looking at a good potential straight draw or flush draw and there’s more than two or three opponents left in to make the pot juicy, you’ll want to continue to the turn card. However, let’s return to our point about the high pair and the strong kicker. The reason the kicker is important when you reach the flop is that it is frequently the “deciding” card in a regular game of poker. Experienced players are rarely more delighted than when they are dealt an ace-king as hole cards. Why? Because if there’s a king or an ace when the flop comes down it means they’ve paired a high card and they’re left with a powerful kicker. This is often enough to win a game, particularly a short handed game. Keep all of the above facets in mind before deciding to go beyond the flop. For a more detailed study of flop strategies go to and take one of the tutorials. The tutorials are the very best available and they’re FREE. You shouldn’t play poker at all until you’ve tried one.

There are times when a high pair, even pocket rockets, are not advisable to continue with after the flop. Let’s say the flop produces cards in sequence, like 7-8-9, or suit connected cards, like maybe three diamonds. If you’re at a normal ten handed table and most of the players are staying in the game, there’s an excellent chance the flush or straight are out there or will be, come the turn and the river.
Even if you land a third ace, you’re not going to overcome a flush or a straight. If the board is screaming possible flush or straight, fold your aces and fight another day.

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ALL THE ACES poker column:
Saturday January 14, 2006: 
Playing Poker Beyond The Flop