Post flop tactics in no-limit hold’em
Stronger players will use post flop betting skill to gain an advantage over their opponents. Against tight players then you can often outplay them in numerous ways and especially when you have position on them. For instance if they have raised and you have called on the button with 9d-8d and the flop came something like Q-3-3 rainbow and they made a c-bet then I would definitely consider floating this flop. Or we could be talking about flops like K-4-4 or 8-8-2. I like these sorts of flops because they hit my range of hands or a percentage of my hand range pre-flop when I call.
Often many people think that calling raises is a poor play, their mantra is three bet or fold. But three betting although giving you the option to win immediately also creates the situation where your opponent could four bet as well. This will happen more often against tougher opponents for the simple reason being that they will play in a more aggressive way. In these instances then you are merely trying to marry probabilities with pre-flop action to create successful bluffing opportunities.
With a flop like 7-7-4 then this is unlikely to have hit your opponent and likely to have hit you so you can represent something more credibly here. So when I look to float a flop then I look to do so when I think that not only does this board not connect with my opponent but also it appears to have connected with me. If you are the original raiser and both blinds call your raise and you have raised with As-4s then making a c-bet on the flop must be done with care.
If the board comes something like 9d-8d-7s and your opponents check then I would certainly check this back. That flop not only misses you but it hits the calling range of one opponent let alone two. It also misses much of what your opponents perceive your raising range to be and so a bluff is going to have far more trouble in this spot. Your opponents could quite easily be looking to check-call or even check-raise here or maybe check-call the flop and then take aggressive action on the turn.
But part of playing no-limit hold’em very well is knowing when to back off. You simply do not need to c-bet every flop as the pre-flop raiser. You need to be somewhat more sophisticated than that and read the situation better. If you had raised with 6s-5s and both blinds called you and the flop came 8c-7c-4h and both opponents checked then I would definitely bet this. But it is amazing how many players check this flop and lose value. This board hits calling ranges so expect calls if you bet. It fails to hit what your opponents think that you have which is another plus point. However another card like a five or a six coming off on the turn could really kill your action so you need to start trying to get the money in now.