**Post-Flop Strategy**

Mastering post-flop strategy is essential for any poker player looking to improve their game. In this guide, we’ll cover three key aspects of post-flop play: reading the board, continuation bets, and understanding pot odds and equity. These concepts will help you make more informed decisions and increase your chances of winning.

**Reading the Board: Understanding Flop Textures and Potential Draws**

**Flop Textures**

Understanding the texture of the flop is crucial for making strategic decisions. Flop textures can be classified into three main types:

**Dry Flop:**A flop with disconnected, low-value cards and no flush or straight possibilities (e.g., K♠ 7♦ 2♣).**Wet Flop:**A flop with connected cards or two or more cards of the same suit, offering straight and flush draw possibilities (e.g., 8♦ 9♦ J♠).**Mixed Flop:**A combination of dry and wet elements (e.g., A♠ 7♣ 5♠).

**Potential Draws**

Identifying potential draws on the board helps you assess the strength of your hand and your opponents’ hands. Look for:

**Straight Draws:**Connected cards that could complete a straight (e.g., 6♠ 7♦ 8♣).**Flush Draws:**Two or more cards of the same suit that could complete a flush (e.g., Q♠ 10♠ 3♠).

**So is my hand strong?**

The best way to understand this, is to try and imagine having the same hand you currently hold at the river. How many types of cards can come that will reduce the strength between now and that point?

Lets say you hold pocket Aces. On the dry flop, it’s unlikely that anyone has two pairs since it is so unconnected. Similarly, running cards would be required to make a straight or a flush, so on this board, a pair of aces is strong.

Now lets take the wet flop. Any card from a 6 to a K increases the chances of a two pair or straight for your opponent. Similarly, a diamond completes a flush. It is unlikely your opponent will fold to a large bet on the flop, with a drawing or connected hand, because they will still have high equity.

**Continuation Bets: When and Why to Continue Betting After the Flop**

**What is a Continuation Bet?**

A continuation bet (c-bet) is a bet made by the player who was first to raise pre-flop, and now holds the betting lead. If there is a 3-bet (Raise of a raise) preflop, then the lead is transferred to this player and so on. C-bets are a powerful tool in poker for several reasons:

**Maintaining Aggression:**Continuation bets allow you to maintain the initiative and pressure opponents.**Representing Strength:**By betting after the flop, you can represent a strong hand, potentially forcing opponents to fold.**Gaining Information:**A c-bet helps you gauge the strength of your opponents’ hands based on their reactions.

**When to Make a Continuation Bet**

**Favorable Board Texture:**Dry flops are ideal for c-bets since they are less likely to have helped your opponents.**Number of Opponents:**C-bets are more effective against fewer opponents. With multiple opponents, the likelihood of someone having connected with the flop increases, so you should only c-bet if you have a strong hand.**Your Table Image:**If you have been playing aggressively, or have consistently shown winning hands, opponents may be more inclined to fold to your c-bet.

In the below video, professional poker player Brad Owen makes a C-bet with Ace King, after analysing the texture of the board and determining what types of hands might call.

**Pot Odds and Equity: Basic Calculations to Determine the Value of Your Hand**

**Pot Odds**

Pot odds refer to the ratio of the current size of the pot to the cost of a contemplated call. Understanding pot odds helps you determine whether it’s profitable to continue in a hand. Here’s how to calculate pot odds:

**Calculate the Pot Size:**Sum up the current pot and your opponent’s bet.**Calculate the Call Cost:**Determine the amount you need to call.**Compute the Ratio:**Divide the call cost by the total pot size (including the call).

**Example:**

Pot Size: $100

Opponent’s Bet: $50

Call Cost: $50

Total Pot (if you call): $200

Pot Odds: $50 / $200 = 0.25 or 25%

**Equity**

Equity is your hand’s chance of winning the pot at showdown. To determine if a call is profitable, you need to compare your equity to the pot odds. If your equity is higher than the pot odds, the call is profitable.

**Basic Equity Calculation**

**Identify Your Outs:**Count the cards that will improve your hand.**Calculate Your Winning Percentage:**Multiply your outs by 2 for the turn or river, or by 4 for both streets (turn and river).

**Example:**

You have J♠T♠ and the flop is K♦ Q♠ 2♣ and suspect your opponent has at least a pair. With any A, or any 9, you make a straight. As there are four of each, you have a total of eight outs.

A simple estimation can be made, by multiplying this number by 4 if there is both the turn and river to go, or by 2 if there is only the river. In this case, you have 8 x 4 = 32%.

Note that this method gives an estimate, and becomes less accurate, the higher the number of outs counted.

**Combining the two calculations:**

You have J♠T♠ and the flop is K♦ Q♠ 2♣ and suspect your opponent has at least a pair. You have 8 x 4 = 32% chance of making the winning hand, and the following action takes place.

Pot Size: $100

Opponent’s Bet: $50

Call Cost: $50

Total Pot (if you call): $200

Pot Odds: $50 / $200 = 0.25 or 25%

Since you have a 32% chance of winning by the river, you can call this bet profitably.

**Conclusion**

Understanding post-flop strategy is vital for becoming a successful poker player. By learning to read the board, effectively use continuation bets, and calculate pot odds and equity, you can make more informed decisions and improve your overall gameplay. Before you move onto the next lesson, you should go away and practice trying to do this at the table. You can see our recommended online poker rooms here, or if you are ready to study your next lesson, click here.

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