flopping the nuts in texas hold'em poker

Flopping the nuts in Texas Hold'em poker is not some form of drunken semi-pornographic revelry. No, if you flop the nuts, you have the best hand at the table after seeing the flop. Of course, this is based on probability, not perfect knowledge of others' hands. But if you're good at putting players on a hand, and you started the game with a pocket Aces, and the flop puts the other two aces and, say, a 5 on the board, well...I think we can say the odds are tremendous that you just flopped the nuts.

So, what's the big deal with flopping the nuts? Maybe that should be an occasion for drunken semi-pornographic revelry! Well, as with all things in poker...not so fast.

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Yes, you have the best hand...but, the game isn't over, because as Amarillo Slim said, it ain't over til it's over (okay, I think someone else said that, and it was a different game, but you know it's true). And even if you are now holding four Aces, there's some work to do--and if you don't do this work correctly, you're going to blow your flopped nuts (that really sounds bad, huh?).


So let's return to our four Aces and the low card that comes with the two flopped ones. The odds against an opponent drawing a royal flush or even a straight flush by the river to beat you are now astronomical. You can be 99% certain that you've just won the hand. So what's the problem? The problem is--you don't want to let anyone else know that yet. And why not? Because you need to sweeten that pot, and you need to make your opponents pay for trying to draw against you. If you don't do that, you've really blown it.

This could be an ideal time to change gears. Remember, every player at the table now has at least a pair of Aces. If you're an aggressive player and the others know that, they may get cocky and decide to come after you because they've flopped the highest pair and, for just one instance, there might now be a player at the table with AAKK who is thinking that he just flopped the nuts and who feels that he could get the highest possible full house by the river. This guy may decide that he wants your money in his pot, and put in a huge raise. Well, there's no way you're folding now, but you could just call him instead of re-raising him. That could really throw him (and some others), and give him (and possibly others) a false sense of confidence that they had the luck of the flop for once. They'll stay in the game and keep on putting more money in...and all for you! (But remember the song, children: you got to...know when to run!)


But as you can imagine, your nut flops aren't always going to be so obvious...or so essentially unbeatable. What if you have pocket Jacks in the hole and the flop comes J, 6, 9? That's a nice trip-up to a set, but watch it. Any Q, K, A, 7, 8, or 10, and any card in the one suit that your Jacks don't give you, that comes on the turn or river has too-close-for-comfort odds of giving your opponent a superior hand. Here, if you are typically an aggressive player, don't change gears--keep up with your normal aggression and try to sweeten the pot as you whittle away at the competition. Don't be afraid to fold'em if you can confidently put an opponent on a superior hand.

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So, flopping the nuts in Texas Hold'em poker is not to be taken for granted. These opportunities don't come along with every hand.

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