The Poker Model will ask you to qualify all of your flop hands as good, bad, or mediocre; this will give you a solid base for how to handle any flop situation. But some flops can have overlap, making decision making a bet less clear. Today I will show you an example of how to handle these more advanced situations.
I’m seated in The Small Blind (TSB) holding Qs-Qh with $50,000 in my stack, a large stack according to The Poker Model because its over the 50 big blind threshold. Q-Q is a very good starting hand, although not premium (like A-A, K-K, and A-K). With Q-Q I am not aggressively looking to get all of my chips in unless my opponent’s stacks and table position are ideal (under 20 big blinds from later table position for example). The player from Under The Gun+2 (UTG+2) raises to $1,000.
The action folds to me and I make a call instead of 3-betting for reasons mentioned above. The player behind me in The Big Blind (TBB) checks and the hand will move to The Flop.
The Flop comes Ah-10h-5h and the action is on me. As always, I must qualify my hand as good, bad, or mediocre. I have a mediocre hand for two reasons: 1) Second Pair 2) Flush Draw. With mediocre hands I want to keep the pot small and see if I can improve my hand. The fact that I have a hand that qualifies as mediocre for two different reasons does not change the way I will play on The Flop. I check and my opponent bets. I call with my mediocre hand and we move to The Turn.
The Turn is the Ace of Diamonds. My hand did not improve, although it is not less likely that my opponent is holding the Ace. I check and he bets $2,500, a Second Bet acwording to The Poker Model. With Second Pair only, I’d make a conservative fold here, not getting too deep into this hand with uncertain knowledge of if I’m ahead or not. But because I also have a Flush Draw, I can make this call under the assumption that a Queen-High Flush would be the winner. I call the Second Bet for this reason.
The River is the Nine of Spades. While I did not make my Flush, I’m still in a mediocre position and wanting to flip my cards over. If I check, I’m leaving myself vulnerable to a big bet from my opponent. For this reason I make a River Blocker Bet. A River Blocker Bet is a ⅓ pot bet that allows me to keep control of my own stack. I will make a small bet when I act first to avoid facing a larger bet. If my opponent folds, then I win. If my opponent raises, then I’ll assume I was beat and fold. If my opponent calls, then I’ll have achieved my goal of flipping my cards with a flopped mediocre hand. I bet $3,000 and my opponent calls.
My opponent flips over Kc-10c and I’ll win the pot with my pair of queens. My opponent raised pre-flop, then followed with a continuation bet on The Flop, then a Second Bet on The Turn. He then called my River Blocker Bet. My opponent played this hand fairly standard but we would have played it differently. We would have checked our mediocre hand on The Flop and lost less money. Remember that no matter how many mediocre hands you have on The Flop, to play it as though it’s mediocre.