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Flopped overcards

Having 2 overcards in a full ring texas holdem game is generally very weak and you should generally be folding unless you also have other draws. In 6 handed playing overcards is helped greatly by reads on other players. Theres a fine line between playing overcards well and overplaying them. However in 6 max games or when the pot is shorthanded you may well have the best hand, especially if Ace high.

Generally if the pot is 2 or 3 handed you should be betting out to see if you can win the pot right there.

Even if first to act and the pot is 3 handed you may not have the best hand so its kind of semi bluffing and even if one of your opponents folds you are more likely to win if one of your overcards comes on the turn. Be a bit more cautious if 3 players are in the pot as its more likely one of them has at least pair.

Sometimes if acting in late position you can raise your overcards if you think theres a chance the orginal bettor will fold, or at least freeze and possibly giving you a free ride to the river card.

If you only have overcards and think you may be behind to a pair you are 7-1 at best to improve, also bear in mind your outs maybe counterfeited, for example if someone has a pair with an ace kicker that would give them 2 pair with you thinking you have hit top pair ace. This is more likely with an ace as many players will play any ace from any position.

When the pot is 4+ handed then your overcards are looking weaker, if your in early position its best to check and see how the rest of the table plays. If acting late and couple of players have come into the pot even though you raised pre flop it may be best to fold.

Also be more wary of draw heavy flops not in your favour. With a couple of players in especially if they contain high cards. With good reads in time you may better judge when a player has missed there draw and your ace high is the best hand.

Overcards go up in value with other draws, gutshots or any kind of backdoor draw. Normally add one and half outs if you have a backdoor flush.

Generally its very game dependant how you play overcards. If your the aggressor pre flop and players arent afraid to bet into you on the flop then think carefully before continuing.

Related Reading

Id firstly like to highlight this advice which is taken from a page Im linking to from the Poker Articles section of my site:
ABdul says:
"Heads up, an ace with a good kicker is often a value-betting/raising hand on a flop that completely misses it (i.e., no pair), even if the kicker is not an overcard, though proceed with caution if you get called (you have to hope your opponent is on a draw and that your ace high will hold up in the showdown or that you'll hit your ace or its big kicker on the turn or river.) When I say proceed with caution I don't really mean to check... although sometimes you can, much of the time you should be betting, betting, betting until your opponent shows you the error of your ways by raising you, and then you should often fold, not call. "

From this article Short Table Strategy by Abdul Jalib M'hall

2 more very good Overcard articles written by Jason Pohl:

Short-Handed Poker: The Overcard Quandary Part looks specifically at Overcards in a Heads-Up Pot and the maths in the decision making process. The conclusion is that drawing to overcards is frequently a losing play.

Short-Handed Poker: The Overcard Quandary Part II takes a look at Overcards in a Multi-Way Pot showing that overcards are even loss profitable in a 3 way pot if one of the other players has a pair.
It also takes a look at Overcards against a Habitual Bluffer and although these players are not seen to often its just best to call them down if you do come across them.

Forum Discussion Threads:
Some hand examples for when your Ace high overcards may actually be the best hand. Request for hands: Ace high makes it to showdown

In this thread AK AQ chasing,
Norm asks: When I raise with AK or AQ and the flop misses me but is ragged, I find it hard to fold the hand on the flop - I always think someone is making a bluff move on the pot. Read in particular replies by ElSapo and Joe Tall.

Clarkmeister plays AKs. This is a very valuable post and looks also at raising the turn with unimproved AK. In Clarkmeister case, he called a raise on the flop, he check raises the turn in a 3 way pot that is Q high and betting player could be on a draw. Takes free showdown and wins pot.Thread titled 2-4 hand

Cartman looks at results for AK,AQ,AJ,KQ,KJ,QJ all offsuit. He used to "used to autoraise and take the free card unimproved (and usually call a river bet with AK, AQ, and AJ)".

However, after syudying the situation he "concluded at the time that raising in this situation was generally -EV and that folding immediately then was probably best followed very closely by calling the flop and folding unimproved on the turn". He then publishes the results after a 100k hands. 100K hand overcard experiment, let's compare results.

To clarify he played these hands as follows:

"If I had a gutshot + two overcards I would typically raise. If I had a backdoor draw + two overcards I would typically call the flop and fold unimproved on the turn. Against habitual bluffers I sometimes just called all the way down. Against maniacs I would sometimes raise for value. But the great majority of the time I just folded on the flop. I usually peeled and folded unimproved on the turn it had been 3-bet preflop or if a third opponent had called a raise preflop then folded to the donk bet before I acted."

However "Again the sample size is paltry, but my results the new way are substantially worse with AK, AQ, and AJ and substantially better with KQ, KJ, and QJ."

Overcards Orginal question:"Party 5/10 6 max normal game. 3 limpers, you raise in SB with AQo. BB 3 bets and it goes without saying that all call. 5 to the flop of rag rag rag rainbow. Check or bet here? You check, BB bets, all call to you. Call or fold?". Consensus was to check fold.

AJ - 1 overcard against 2 opponents Comments by Nate tha' Great and Schneids regarding betting and possibly check raising.

AK overcards Preflop is capped a multiway, how to play AK overcards discussed.

In BB with KT overcards against blind stealer "What do you do if the flop and turn miss with little cards". Good advice by stoxtrader, Nate tha' Great.

Ever wonder if you are a pushover on the flop after an easy pf defense
Maxx questions how to play A7s spades in the BB to a blinder stealer with a flop
2c 2c Jh. Good advice by Nate tha' Great, plus geormiet and StellarWind who describe hwo tehy paly against different players.

AJo on Q high flop against a button LAG BugsBunny flops 1 overcard and a couple of backdoor draws against a Lag player. Good
comments from Schneids and Nate tha' Great.

A high against blind steal Playing against a trickly 60/22 blindsteal and flopping 1 overcard.

Discounting overcards in 6 max Do you discount in small handed pots?

Flop raise HU situation deeper analysis PeterRus analyses playing AK overcards and getting raised on flop by Big blind.

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