The flop, the three cards dealt face-up, is arguably the single most important part of an online poker game. Those cards, along with the two holecards, make up more than 70% of a player’s final holding. The round of betting on the flop is crucial in determining whether you win that hand, and how big the pot grows. It goes without saying that you want to win as many hands as you can, as well as win as big a pot as possible. Select a playable starting hand and continue playing it provided that it improves enough to justify further investment. On the other hand, fold if it’s a cold flop; that is, unless of course everyone else checks and you receive a free card).
Let’s assume you have a respectable starting hand, and that your two pre-flop holecards was not a made hand. The three community flop cards are then dealt face-up. How can you determine whether to risk in hopes that your hand will further improve enough to win the pot? It depends a lot on the number of outs; the unseen cards that could endow you with a made hand. You have two cracks at it: the turn and the river.
Five outs. If you’re not dealt a big pair or better and count only five or fewer outs after the flop, go ahead and fold every time, except when you can stay to see the turn if the player immediately to your left bets and a few others call, so that it is a single bet to you. Also, if it’s checked all around. In any case, never pass on a free card in online poker.
Six outs. You have two overcards to the flop and your two holecards are higher than any of the three face-up cards on the flop. That’s six outs. Call a single bet if it’s a multi-way pot – i.e., three or more players stay to see the turn, but fold to a raise. Six outs just don’t warrant a double-bet risk.
Seven outs. Seven outs should play out just about the same as six outs.
Eight outs. If you have an open-end straight draw, that’s eight outs. The odds are only 2.2-to-1 against you connecting on the turn or the river. That’s a hand you want to play, even if someone raises. In fact, you should be that someone, especially after three players have already bet. As sure as the sun, they will call your raise, which provides you with “money odds” that are higher than your card odds for a Positive Expectancy for that raise. If you fail to connect on the turn, call to see the river (unless you’re in the mood for a semi-bluff).
That’s four-to-a-flush; the card odds are only 1.86-to-1 against you. That is to say, play this hand like you would eight outs.
Ten outs or more. On the flop and beyond, play online poker exactly like you would for eight or nine outs.