Preflop Poker and Using the PLAN System

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Wooden blocks with the word “Plan” printed on them.
BetMGM Jan 29, 2024, 2:43 PM

If you play online poker for fun or you’re just learning how to play poker online, then all the different rules, tips, and tricks can be slightly overwhelming. The flop is one of the most important of any hand, and having even the most basic awareness of your options during preflop and postflop will help you make better decisions. 

Knowing what actions to take preflop can be a bit complex, but there is a simple system that you can use to ensure that you aren’t utterly confused when the time comes. In this blog, you’ll learn more about what the flop is in a poker game and how the PLAN system can form an integral part of your preflop poker strategy.

What Is The Flop in Poker?

Before you get stuck into your preflop strategy, it’s important to know what a flop is and how the flop works in poker.

Omaha and Texas hold’em are known as flop-based poker games. They can be broken down into four different sections. The first is the initial round of betting that happens right after the first hand is dealt, and this is where you’ll post compulsory bets (blinds).

Five community cards are placed on the table in three different stages. Each of the stages has its own betting round. 

The first three community cards are revealed simultaneously. This is a “flop.” When that betting round is finished, the fourth card is dealt, which is known as the “turn” card. The final community card is called the “river” card.

The PLAN System for Preflop Actions

The PLAN System is an easy-to-use system that you can incorporate into cash games or online poker tournaments that will help you make better decisions preflop. Here’s how it works.

Position

Your position is one of the most important factors in any poker decision. Before you do anything preflop, you should consider what your probable position will be if the hand goes to postflop. 

If you know you’ll be in position during postflop, then you’ll have more options when it comes to value betting, floating, and bluffing. This means that you should look to play more hands if you know that you’ll have the position postflop. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should completely avoid playing hands if you are going to be OOP (out of position) postflop, but just that being in position is easier. You should also try to play fewer hands from an earlier position than a late one. Limping behind from middle position one (MP1) in a game might seem like a good idea, but if there’s an aggressive player on the button, they could raise and put you in a bad OOP postflop.

Locations (of Weaker/Inexperienced Players)

Identifying the weaker and more inexperienced players around the table will give you a much better chance of winning. Poker games don’t actually run around the strongest players and it’s actually the weaker ones that tend to dictate the table dynamic, even though they don’t intend to. These dynamics can shift considerably based on the number of weak or inexperienced players in a game and what position they are in on any given hand.

Before you raise a hand preflop, it’s always worth finding out where the weak players are and what actions are likely to take place if you raise and they call. There are a number of ways to identify weak players in this situation, but one of the most reliable is simply passive play. This means that they regularly call preflop and postflop, but then fold before the showdown. Weak players are likely to call a bunch of preflop raises with rubbish hands. You can plan ahead for this when you raise with hands like 2-2 and Q-9o (offsuit).

Aggression

Passive play was mentioned in the section above, and it is usually indicative of a weak or inexperienced player. If in doubt, choose aggressive play over passive play. In general, this means raising a hand rather than limping. That’s not to say you should never limp in preflop, but if you do it too often, you’ll actually miss out on some good spots for aggressive play. 

Of course, if you’re going to go in with aggression, then you have to have a game plan. Being aggressive works best if you are (or will be) in position postflop. Consider what could happen with your hand and if you might be able to win the pot outright with it. Also, think about whether a limp or raise will create a more valuable situation.

No Limit

Too many players seem to forget that they are playing no-limit hold’em. You can make a massive raise whenever you want, but so few players consider doing this. Don’t be afraid to use raise sizes that seem a little out of place. 

Doing this will make your opponents second guess what you’ve got in your hand, and it could undoubtedly help to create a more +EV (positive expected value) opportunity for you. While your odds of flopping a royal flush are low, using creative plays and ideas in a logical game can be a great way to increase your edge.

Learn More About Online Poker With BetMGM

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.