Most holdem players are reasonably adept at profiling their opponents pre-flop play

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Your Opponent's Arsenal Part 1: The Flop

Most hold ҥm players are reasonably adept at profiling their opponentsҠpre-flop play. They know how to classify other players on the continuums of tight to loose and passive to aggressive. When adjusted to reflect a playerӳ position and the action in front of him, these classifications can be very helpful in narrowing his range of starting hands and helping you figure out the best pre-flop play with the two cards you are holding.

Especially in deep-stacked big-bet games, however, knowing what your opponents are capable of doing after the flop is also critically important to playing your own holdings for maximum value. Frankly, pre-flop decisions are a lot simpler, and with the amount of published material in existence providing specific and detailed recommendations about which hands to play from which positions, most players are not making their biggest mistakes before the flop. Understanding specifically what an opponent will and will not do well on the flop can tell you a lot about how you ought to play against him before the flop. This article will examine some common strategies for flop play and how they can be exploited. To be clear, by strategy I do not necessarily mean a sophisticated plan that an opponent has formulated and is consciously employing. But whether deliberate or not, most players do tend to play certain types of hands in predictable ways when faced with common flop situations, and that is all that I mean by strategy.

Since the focus is on characterizing and exploiting a particular opponentӳ specific strategy, I will consider only heads up pots. And because they are the most common, I will further focus on no limit hold ҥm situations where one player has made a standard raise pre-flop and another has called, either in or out of position. In some situations the opponent will be the raiser, and in others he will be the caller, but the pre-flop action will always be the same. Lastly, I will generally assume stacks of sufficient depth that either player has room to raise a flop bet without committing himself to the pot.


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