Beginner Flop Play

Stack sizes in the following refers to the stack size you had when the hand begun.
When discussing the value of your hand this assumes that you are using at least one of your hole cards to make that hand.
SPR refers to Stack-to-Pot Ratio which is the ratio between what you have left in your stack and the money in the pot.
An example: there is $30 in the pot and you have $120 left in your stack. This gives you a Stack-to-Pot Ratio of 4.

This strategy will not cover the rounds of play after the flop completely, you have to do some thinking on your own there. But some guidelines are that if it is stated below that you should be willing to go all-in on the flop, you should be willing to go all-in or turn and river also - unless some really scary cards come.

Tiny stack size - 12 BB or less

The only time you will see a flop without already being all-in is when you were in the big blind and no one raised.
If you have a pair or better move all-in if first to act. If someone else bets first move all-in if you have top-pair or better (pair with the highest card on the board).

Small stack size - 25 BB or less

If unraised pot (playing from big blind) bet if you have pair or better if first to act. Otherwise think for yourself.
If raised pot, be willing to go all-in if you have top-pair or better. If you expect opponent to bet if checked to, you can do that and then go all-in. Otherwise bet first and bet the size of the pot.

Medium stack size - 100 BB or less

Drawing hands

A drawing hand is a hand that can improve to a great hand if the right card comes. A strong draw is most often an open ended straight draw or a flush draw, that is you have 4 of the cards to a straight or a flush. Open ended means that you can get a straight by getting a card on either end of the straight, for example you have 6 8 and the board is 5 7 2.
Both a 4 and a 9 will give you a straight.

If you have a strong draw, bet if you are first to act and fold to a raise that is more than 3 times your bet. Call smaller raises. If you have a strong draw and someone bets into you, call if you expect that you will in average win more than 5 times that bet in total if you hit your draw. Otherwise fold.

Weak hands

Weak pair (there are higher cards on the board) or only high card hand.
Mostly check or fold if you expect that a bet from you will be called. If you are up against one player and he is very timid - bet the size of the pot.

Other made hands

A made hand is a hand that already has some strength as opposed to the drawing hands. The table below gives you some guidelines on what to do with different hand strength depending on your SPR. You should be willing to move all-in (usually not immediately or in one bet) if your have:
  • SPR less than 3: Any pair
  • SPR less than 7: Top pair (pair with highest boardcard)
  • SPR less than 10 Overpair (pair higher than boardcards)
  • SPR less than 15: Two pair

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