Whilst it’s true that a small pre-flop mistake can often lead to larger more costlier post-flop mistakes, there’s no denying that post-flop play, with up to three streets to negotiate, is more complex and trickier to master than pre-flop play. With that in mind here’s five common post-flop mistakes that happen all the time at low stakes.
1) Always firing a continuation bet – Just because you’re the pre-flop raiser it doesn’t mean you have to always bet the flop. Not only will players cotton on if you do, but simple maths means it’s impossible for you to have connected every time. However, it’s important to have balance when checking the flop, you need to check both when you’ve missed, when you’ve hit and on those scary boards too when you have air and when you have a draw.
2) Only leading into the pre-flop raiser with marginal hands – If you only ever lead into the pre-flop raiser with marginal hands like second pair – say 8-7 on a Q-7-3 flop – you’ll be incredibly easy to read. Leading into the pre-flop raiser is fine, just make sure you do it with strong hands like sets, semi-bluffs like flush draws, to represent hands that could’ve hit your pre-flop calling range and with your marginal hands and bluffs too.
3) Calling one street and then calling the next regardless when a blank card comes – This is a pretty bad one because it’s easy to file it away in the ‘what else could I do’ section. If you call a raise on the turn thinking you’re good, a blank cards comes on the river and your opponent bets again, the right mentality is not to just call because you called the turn and the river hasn’t changed anything. You now have one more street of information to go on. Don’t just blindly click call.
4) Not having a plan – The flop, turn and river are not independent streets, they’re connected. You need to plan all three post-flop streets on the flop. It can be as simple as, ‘I have a really strong hand, I want to get three streets of value and be all-in on the river, how much do I need to bet on the flop to do that?’ To the quite complicated – “What do I do if he raises the flop, what do I do if the flush comes on the turn? Which turn cards are good/bad/neutral for me?
5) Changing your bet size based on hand strength – It is absolutely fine to change your bet size on the flop/turn/river but it should rarely be done based on the strength of your hand. What you should change it on is the texture of the board. For instance if you have A-K and the flop comes K-7-2 rainbow you can bet smaller than if it comes K-10-9 with two hearts. On the second board you need to charge draws more to continue, on the first board, well there are no draws. And on the first board you want the marginal hands like small pairs, weak sevens and so on to call you so you bet less to accomplish this.
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