Home > Poker Strategies > NLHE Post-flop Strategy

How to Play Top Pair

Fortune Jack Poker

A top pair is considered a decent hand. While it's not a nut hand, it's very often the best hand. As a general rule, you should bet aggressively to make drawing hands pay to play. By following the strict starting hand selection guideline, when you do hit the top pair on the flop, you usually have a solid kicker as well.

First, analyse the board and see if the board has either straight or flush draw possibility. Let's suppose you are first to act. The following suggestions assumes you are facing against a single opponent.

Ragged, rainbow board. No draw possibility.

With a ragged, rainbow board, you are very likely holding the best hand with top pair. You should bet about 1/2 to 2/3 pot.

Opponent is tight/aggressive

A tight/aggressive player usually either raise or fold. A raise here from such a player usually indicate at least a top pair with a solid kicker.

Opponent is tight/passive

If you get called by a tight/passive player, it is pretty likely that he or she also has top pair. This is where your kicker comes into play. If you have top kicker, you should continue to bet on the turn. Otherwise, be prepared to check to the river.

Opponent is loose/aggressive

The loose/aggressive player will reraise you even if he only hit second or bottom pair.

Opponent is loose/passive

A loose/passive player will call you if he or she hit second or bottom pair.

Board suggests straight or flush draw possibility.

When such a flop hits, you should bet more aggressively to make it expensive for drawing hands to call. Bet about 3/4 pot.

Opponent is tight/aggressive

Tight aggressive players are typically solid players and don't play drawing hands. Hence, a raise here usually still indicates that he or she is holding top pair or better.

Opponent is tight/passive

Similar to the tight/aggressive player, the tight/passive player will call here if he or she is holding top pair or better. If you get called on the turn, consider checking the river. Respect any raise from these players since they seldom raise unless they have a very good hand.

Opponent is loose/aggressive

The loose/aggressive player will likely call here if he is drawing. The very aggressive ones may even raise on a draw. Against such players, continue to bet aggressively on the turn to chase them away if the board doesn't suggest that a straight draw or a flush draw has hit.

Opponent is loose/passive

A loose/passive player will call here if he is drawing. A top pair is most profitable when playing against such players. Continue to bet on the turn and river and milk as much money from them as possible.

Suited, Connected or Paired Board.

Precede with caution. Your top pair has a high chance of being the 2nd best hand here, especially against multiple opponents. You should still bet the flop here but be prepared to check/fold your hand when you meet significant resistance. Always remember: The best outcome when holding second best hand is to lose the minimum.

Related Links


Home | About Us | Terms of Use | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy

Copyright 2017. SunTzuPoker.com - All Rights Reserved.