Postflop Strategy in No Limit Hold Em
Once you’ve mastered preflop play, such as figuring out which range to play from which position, it’s time to move on to postflop strategy. This is where you can really start to outplay the competition and win more chips!
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Ultimately, postflop decisions are all about when to bet and how big to make those bets. These are the main factors that going into this decision-making process:
Let’s break these down.
Who has the stronger range? A big pre-flop raise from an early position, for instance, often indicates the strength, such as pairs or high cards, while a small call or check from the big blind leaves the range wide open.
The post-flop range advantage then comes down to the board texture. If lots of high cards come out, then the early position raiser will have the advantage. On the other hand, if it's low or uncoordinated, that can be great for the big blind because they are more likely to have small cards in their hand.
When you have the range advantage, you want to frequently bet the flop, especially if you can make a continuation bet as the preflop raiser. You can often scoop the pot with small bets, but if the opponent’s continuing range has decently strong hands, you can ramp it up by making a bigger bet of around ¾ pot.
Even if you lack range advantage, it's possible to have nut advantage, which basically means that your range contains the best possible combinations. If your range contains suited connectors, for instance, but your opponent’s doesn’t, then you can have the nut advantage on a coordinated high cardboard, even if their range contains more high cards and is more likely to have hands like top pair, two pair, or three of a kind.
When you lack the nut advantage but have a range advantage, bet smaller. As your range contains more premium hands, you can apply more aggression and bet bigger.
Whether you act first or last is a huge factor in any poker game. The more information you have, the better decision you can make. That means that when you’re in position, you want to bet much more often, while it’s often better to check when out of position.
So if you’re on the button, you can ratchet up the aggression against early position players, especially if they check to you and you have the range and/or nut advantage.
There are four basic types of post-flop hands that you can hold, and each wants to play differently. A premium made hand wants to win a big pot by extracting value. A draw, such as a flush or straight, wants to semi-bluff with equity in order to steal a big pot.
Marginal-made hands, on the other hand, want to do pot control, check back, and get to showdown cheaply. Junk hands want to improve cheaply, see more cards without putting too many chips into the pot, and see if you can get lucky. If the price ain’t right though, just fold them out.