Quads-on-the-Flop! Has it ever happened to you?

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Quads-on-the-Flop! Has it ever happened to you?

Play poker long enough and eventually you too will catch quads – four of a kind – on the flop.

The other night, playing $3-$6 limit hold’em at the Normandie Casino, I was dealt A-9 off suit in a middle position. Seven of us stayed to see the flop, with no raises. I could hardly believe my eyes when the dealer slowly placed the three cards on the board: 9-9-9! I had just flopped quad 9s! I tried to conceal my emotions.

Interestingly, about a year ago, in the blind with 6-5 offsuit, I got to see the flop when no one raised preflop. On that occasion, the flop came down 6-6-6. Quad 6s! I have often discussed this hand during my poker classes at the Claude Pepper Sr. Center. Very rare, but it can – and does – happen, perhaps once in a blue moon. The odds are about 10,000-to-1 against it.

PLAYING QUADS

Because it is so rare, you want to make the most of such a hand. Remember, our objective is not just to win lots of pots, but to win as much $$$ as possible. Get full value from your quads.

Ordinarily, catching a monster hand on the flop, it is wise to slow-play. Check rather than bet if you are first to declare. Just call if an opponent bets. Don’t raise or you might chase your opponents out of the hand.

You can’t win much if everyone folds. Do your betting or raising on a later street when the bets are double. What’s more, betting/raising with such a board gives away information about your hand you would rather your opponents didn’t have. But the slow-play protocol on the flop isn’t always the wisest, depending on the situation.

When I flopped the quad 9s, I was in a middle position. It was a loose game, with moderate raising preflop. The three players before me checked. With seven of us staying to see the flop, I mulled over whether to bet and take the chance everyone would fold to my bet.

On the other hand, I reasoned that if I bet, no one would believe I held the case 9. More likely they would put me on a small pair in the hole (since I had not raised preflop) or, perhaps, think I was trying to steal the pot. Especially, since I had been caught trying to bluff a few hands earlier.

By getting a few more bets into the pot, the pot odds would be more attractive to my opponents on later streets when the bets were doubled. The alternative would have been to check on the flop and then check-raise on the turn – if (hopefully) anyone bet after my check. Not too likely in this situation.

After thinking about my options, I decided to bet now to get more chips into the pot, making calling or betting on the turn and river more attractive. And, of course, if one or more of my opponents made a pair, I would certainly get more action in the later streets.

Four opponents called my bet on the flop. The turn was a small card – likely a blank for everyone. With two clubs on the board, someone could be drawing to a flush. (I hoped he would make it.) The betting was checked to me. I made the $6 bet and was called by two opponents. The river was another blank. After my bet, they both folded. So I took a decent-sized pot without ever showing my quad 9s.

Could I have built a bigger pot? Would I have made more money by slow-playing on the flop – my other option? What do you think?

Comments? George “The Engineer” Epstein can be contacted at [email protected]

 

About the Author

George Epstein

A retired engineer, George Epstein is the author of “The Greatest Book of Poker for Winners!” and “Hold’em or Fold’em? – An Algorithm for Making the Key Decision.” He teaches poker courses and conducts a unique Poker Lab at the Claude Pepper Senior Center under the auspices of the City of Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation and Parks and at West Los Angeles College.

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