This is the part where a player will have a hand requiring some skill, some knowledge of the poker players they’re going against, and a solid grasp of the percentages involved to be a winning player.
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Three of a Kind
Three of a kind (“trips” or a “set”) is very often a winning hand in Hold ’em. To flop a set is mainly a great thing but is all too often a heartbreaker. When you have a pocket pair and a third one comes on the board, you’re way ahead! Well, except for a few things.
Let’s say you have 9♠9♣, and the flop shown below appears.
You’re in good shape, but you aren’t invulnerable
While you are obviously in a great position with your trips, this is a major danger flop, which means your strong hand is very vulnerable. Let us count the ways. First, you’re vulnerable to any straight draw or made straight. QJ is a common hand in loose games, so that’s a possibility. Unfortunately, any 7 or J now has an open-ended straight draw, giving them two shots at eight cards (any of the four 6s or Qs). In addition, anyone with two diamonds in the hole will now have two chances to catch another diamond and make a flush. Of course, you can solve this little problem by pairing the board with an 8, 9, T, or if the turn and river cards pair themselves—for example, if the turn and river are both 3s. Once in a great while, the T♦ and/or the 7♦ will come before the end of the hand and give someone a straight flush.
In that case, all you can do is raise a couple of times, either on the turn or the river, and have the sense to realize they’re not going to stop raising and call. When you’re on the Internet, no one will see you cry.
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