02- 8-08, LearnTexasHoldem:

Flopping the Nuts in Texas Hold'em Poker

Flopping the "nuts," or the best hand, in Texas hold'em poker would seem to be an enviable spot, and it is. However, just because you have the best hand on the flop does not mean you can play the rest of the hand on autopilot. You need to consider how to bet in order to extract the most from your opponents and to make them pay for trying to draw to a hand that will beat you.

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How Vulnerable is Your Nut Texas Hold'em Hand?

If you have Ad Ah and the flop comes As Ac 8h, you can be 99 percent confident that your hand will not be beaten. You can afford to play this hand as slowly as you can stand. On the other hand, if you hold Ts Tc and the flop is 5d 9d Th, you'll need to tread more carefully, as any diamond, 6, 7, 8, J, Q or K could give an opponent a superior holding.

Playing with a Vulnerable Nut Hand in Texas Hold'em

If you hold a vulnerable hand like the one mentioned above, you'll want to make your opponents pay to draw to one of those hands that can beat you. It is usually correct to bet just enough to give them incorrect odds to call. In most cases, a drawing hand will need 4-to-1 or better odds to see one additional card. A close to pot sized bet should be enough to make it incorrect for the opponent to call. Sometimes an opponent will move over the top all-in on a semi-bluff, allowing them to see both the turn in the river since they have no more chips to bet. Although this is not a bad move, you will of course call with your nut hand.

Playing with a Non-Vulnerable Nut Hand in Texas Hold'em

The problem with a non-vulnerable nut hand is that it is often brutally obvious that you have it. You can slow play as much as possible, but you will have to accept that sometimes you simply will not get any action on these hands. Some players try to put in a minimum bet on the flop, a slightly larger bet on the turn and a larger bet on the river. This, in effect, slowly turns up the heat to try to build a pot, rather than getting the pot boiling right away and losing all opponents.

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