Q: In PL, I got Q4o in the BB. I see the flop for free to see Q42 heads-up & out of position. How do I play this?
A: Conventional wisdom says bet big on the flop. The worst approach would be to slow-play and wait until the river to bet. I would consider one additional alternative: check the flop and wait to the turn to bet. Here’s why:
- For starters, you should always vary your play slightly to keep your opponents from being able to put you on a hand. Whenever you vary, be sure there are other reasons that justify the move besides varying for the sake of varying, such as:
- The nightmare scenario is that he flopped a set, maybe of 2’s. When out of position to a flopped set, you often bet out and get called on the flop and then you bet out again on the turn and he sticks it up your butt. On the flop, they are thinking “oh goodie, this sucker will bet my hand for me.” Check it and see what he does.
- People expect unraised BB’s to catch the flop when the flop is ragged. He already thinks you may have something
- The flop is so bad, that he probably needs runner-runner to draw out on you. Let him catch up slightly then stick it to him on the turn when he is drawing for one more card.
- If he calls on the turn, you can probably figure out what he is drawing at. When he checks on the flop (especially if he is looking for runner-runner) you have no fckin clue what he is going for. Knowing what you are up against is key to winning, of course.
In summary, aside from maybe A3 or A5, I can’t really think of a hand that you would be ahead of that could pass you up on the turn.
Do not use this strategy in limit poker, if you are in position, or exclusively (only to vary your play).