Poker Beginners Guide: Opponent's Best Hand Test (1)

In the previous section we discussed the idea of reading your opponents board. Here are some exercises on this theme.

The first thing to remember when you are looking at your opponents board is this: if he has a pair (or trips) among his down cards then a full house (or quads) is always possible. Lets assume that this is not the case. In other words, lets assume we know that he doesnt have a full house or better. What is his next best hand in the following two examples?

  You       
       
  Opponent       
       

Here your opponent has two spades and two diamonds among his up cards. This suggests that he might conceivably have made a flush using either three spades or three diamonds from his down cards. However, since you yourself possess the Ace of spades, the best flush in spades that he could make would be the King-high flush. We can therefore deduce that his best possible hand without a pair or trips in his down cards is an Ace-high flush in diamonds. He would then use the Ace of diamonds and the other two diamonds from his down cards, together with the two diamonds among his up cards to make a hand of A-J-6-X-X, where 'X' is any other diamond.

  You       
       
  Opponent       
       

In this example all of your opponents up cards are of different suits. Since he must use at least two of his up cards to complete his hand, this means that it is impossible for him to have a flush, even if all three of his down cards were of the same suit. In that case his best possible hand (with no pair/trips in his down cards) will be a straight. Here the best straight he could make would be a King-high straight. To complete this straight he would need a Queen, Jack and Ten as his down cards for a hand of K-Q-J-10-9.