Hold'em Strategy - Check or bet - an introduction?

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Finally, I've "got around to it." The strategy intro post is here... This time we’re going to go into post-flop play. I could preface this series with discussion on preflop play, but I am making the assumption that those reading this already have a somewhat sound foundation of preflop hand selection and a concept of position (meaning 2-2 is more profitable when playing from the button than when playing from UTG and should usually be folded preflop UTG).

Much confusion falls upon the felt, once the dealer executes the flop. You see the board, you reflect on how this flop helped and/or hurt you. You might correctly go a step further and ponder how the flop may have helped or hurt your opposition. And maybe you even think on how your opposition thinks the flop affected you. You might even glance down at your chip stack and examine the stacks of the players remaining in the hand. Once the flop is delivered, the planning must begin.

Playing after the flop is very cerebral in nature. You need to not only know what you’re doing, but also why you’re doing it. Everything you do should be very deliberate. Every move, check or bet, call or raise, fold or play… should have a very dedicated and known (to you) purpose. Thinking about these things, knowing what to do and why, are the difference between being a craftsman of the trade, or a drone; the captain or the crew. We want to be the master of our tables, the writer of the script, we do not want to be servants to the other player or players. Nor do we wish to be merely a character cast in a story of donation and donkeyness. We want to manipulate those around us, causing them to be characters in our screenplay on the felt. Understanding when to check and when to bet, in addition to how much we should bet is the first step of this mastery process.

Throughout this series, we are going to cover the following:

Planning your hand flop to finish;

Basic Reasons for Checking and Basic Reasons for Betting;

How to Decide Whether to Check or Bet;

Sizing one’s bets, laying and accepting pot odds;

Once again, this series is designed for the beginner and is not at all meant to be the lone source of information. Additionally, I make no claims to be thorough in my writings in this or any other strategy series. Finally, as my disclaimer, while this strategy may work well for me, I make no claims that it “will” work well for everyone else. The stuff I discuss is of solid foundation and I grasp the concepts. Not everyone, however, will be able to. This is OK. Additionally, there is more than one way to skin a cat. I am completely aware of this. Agree or disagree, I look forward to working through this topic with my readers.