Play Poker - Poker Odds - Poker Rules - Poker Hand Simulator - Pot Odds Calculator - Glossary - WSOP- WPT- EPT
poker guide poker strategy

Play Online Poker
US Players Welcome

Poker Rooms

Noble Poker
Full Tilt Poker
Pacific Poker Ladbrokes Poker

Poker Tools

Calculatem Protop poker tool
Sit-N-Go Shark
Hold'em Genius
Hold'em Smart Card
Poker Usher
Poker Evolver

Home > Training > Board Reading

Poker Training - Reading the Board

One of the best features of Texas Hold'em is the fact that you always know the best possible hand at any stage of the game. Preflop, when all you have are your two hole cards, a pair of aces is the best possible hand
If the hand was over at that point you would always win because there's no way to beat pocket aces with only two cards. If you had pocket kings, for instance, you still would win the majority of the time because the odds
are in your favor against someone else holding pocket aces while you hold kings to the tune of 19, (or 5 to 1 ratio).

Reading the Flop

The cards that come on the flop tell you where the hand is going. With three cards exposed you can now tell what the best possible hand is. In most live games you'll have plenty of opportunity to study the board.
It becomes second nature to you. Here are some sample flops to practice calculating the best possible hand.


1)  Kpoker strategy  Kpoker terms, glossary  Jpoker terms, glossary
Any time the flop contains a pair, the best possible hand will be a four-of-a-kind, or a full house and if possible try to account for one of the key cards. With no other information the best possible hand for this flop is four kings.
If you hold a king, then you know no one else can make four-of-a-kind and so their only shot at you is a full house. Holding a king or a jack here makes a nut hand.

2)  7poker training  7poker  5poker terms, glossary
The best possible hand here is four 7's (7poker terms, glossary 7poker rules), trailed by 7's full of 5's (7,5), and then 5's full of 7's (5,5).

3)  8poker training  8poker terms, glossary  8shorthand limit poker
Its clear to see that the best possible hand here is four 8's. 8poker rules is the nut card here. But other than the missing 8 card what is the second and third best possibility here? Pocket aces trailed by pocket kings which obviously would make a full house.

4)  Kshorthand limit poker  7shorthand limit poker  2shorthand limit poker
Any time you see three cards suited on a flop the best possible hand will be a flush. If those three cards fall with 5 ranks of each other than the best possibility will be a straight flush. Holding an Ah with any other heart makes a nut hand with this flop.

5)  Qpoker training  9poker training  7poker training
Best possible hand is the Ashorthand limit poker with any other heart.

6)  6poker terms, glossary  4poker terms, glossary  2poker terms, glossary
Think its the Apoker terms, glossary with any other club? Wrong answer. Your opponent might have 3poker terms, glossary 5poker terms, glossary completing a straight flush. Think harder..

7)  5poker training  6poker terms, glossary  9shorthand limit poker
Remember that three cards on a flop within five ranks of each other can complete a straight. For this example, holding a 7 with an 8 would make a straight.

8)  Apoker rules  5poker training  3poker terms, glossary
Again, a straight is the best possibility here. Anyone holding a 2 with a 4 has the straight and cannot be beat at this point.

9)  Kshorthand limit poker  Jpoker rules 10poker training
The best hole cards one can have with this flop are Ace and a Queen which completes a straight. Notice that a queen and a 9 will make a straight, but they don't give you the nut straight.

10)  Apoker terms, glossary  9shorthand limit poker  6poker rules
No straight possibility. Best possible hand is three aces, trailed by three 9's, and then three 6's.

11)  Jshorthand limit poker  9poker terms, glossary  5poker training
No straight is possible. Best possibility is three jacks, trailed by three 9's, then three 5's.

12)  7poker terms, glossary  4shorthand limit poker  2poker rules
The best possible cards held on this flop are pocket 7's, to complete three 7's, aka trip 7's. Followed by pocket 4's, then pocket 2's.

Go to pg. 2  Reading the Turn