Five Quick Tips—How to Play a Full House

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FIVE QUICK TIPS

HOW TO PLAY A FULL HOUSE IN POKER

One of the best-ranked poker hands, a full house has the potential to be very profitable. Realistically, you won't get a full house very often, so it pays to take a moment and think about your best course of action and make the most of this rare card combination. Here are five quick tips for playing a full house.

1. MAXIMIZE YOUR PROFITS

A full house is not unbeatable, but it should win the pot most of the time; your primary concern should be the best way to extract the maximum amount of profit. Slow play if your opponents are betting aggressively, only call their bets until the turn, then double their bet and push them all in if necessary. If nobody is betting big, try to up the stakes, make a small bet with only a few chips more than the previous wager and try to stimulate pot growth. Do whatever it takes to increase the size of the pot.

2. KNOW WHEN TO FOLD

You will rarely hit a full house on the flop, which means you will be chasing the remaining cards on the turn, and the river. Most of the time though, you won't hit the cards you need, and be left holding three of a kind or a pair. While both these hands still have the potential to win, there are only two options left, bet or fold. Try and scare the remaining players out of the hand with a large bet, but be aware you may need to fold and live to play another day if your opponents refuse to back down.

3. BECOME MORE AGGRESSIVE AS THE GAME PROGRESSES

A full house is an incredibly versatile hand and can be slow played or played aggressively, depending on what the rest of the table is doing. However, as a general rule of thumb, if you are lucky enough to hit a full house on the flop or turn, become more aggressive as the game progresses. To make a full house, you need at least a pair on the board, which opens up the chance of a four of a kind or another full house for other players. In this instance, you need to make a big enough bet to make people think twice about staying in the hand.

4. KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR BETTER HANDS

Other than a better full house, there are only two other hands you need to worry about, a straight flush and four of a kind. A royal flush could also beat your full house, but you have better odds of getting struck by lightning than getting a royal, so make of that what you will. If you find yourself in the rare situation where there is an obvious four of a kind or straight flush on the board, you only have two options, bluff or fold.

Your bluff will need to be big enough to scare everyone out, but without being an obvious over-bet. Make a large bet, at least 15 times the big blind, plus an extra blind for each player still in the pot. However, it’s important to decide beforehand how much you are willing to stake on the ruse. Realistically, a player with four of a kind or a straight flush is not going to fold. Know when you are beaten and don’t overcommit to the bluff. If someone has a straight flush, you don’t want to be all in against them on the river.

5. KEEP IT SIMPLE AND DON’T OVERTHINK

Poker can be a complicated game, requiring strategy and attention to detail, leaving you overanalysing every situation ad nauseam. Sometimes, you have to forget everything else, and go for it. Don't overthink it. A full house is a decent enough hand to forget everything else, and go for the win, don't be afraid to re-raise, bet, or whatever else it takes. Unless you are playing for giant stacks, you should seriously think about playing a full house to the end of the round, regardless of the outcome. It's up to you to assess the game and decide whether you should stay in the hand or fold, but you would have to be very unlucky to lose after hitting a full house.