Targeted poker quiz 28: Hold ’em (advanced)


Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. This 39-part series of quizzes, originally published (2004-2006) in Poker Player, is based on the Mike Caro University of Poker library of research and advice. In each entry, Mike Caro presents 10 questions covering a category of poker, targeted for beginner, intermediate, or advanced players. Answers with explanations appear below each quiz, with the questions repeated for easy reference.


The MCU Targeted Poker Quiz series

(See the index to this series)

Strategy – Hold ’em (level: advanced)

  1. Disregarding suits, which flop is most profitable, on average, if you’re holding A-10 in hold ’em?

    (a) 2-3-4;

    (b) 10-K-J;

    (c) 10-4-4;

    (d) A-2-2.

  2. Disregarding suits, if you begin a hold ’em hand with J-10 and the flop is J-10-A, you should usually…

    (a) bet and reraise if raised;

    (b) check and call if bet into;

    (c) check and raise if bet into;

    (d) bet and fold if raised

  3. Disregarding suits, if you begin with A-9 and the flop is A-9-9, you should usually…

    (a) check and call if bet into;

    (b) check and raise if bet into;

    (c) keep betting and raising until the river;

    (d) check and fold if bet into.

  4. In which way is 5-5 better than 2-2 as a starting hold ’em hand?

    (a) 5-5 can beat starting pairs 3-3 and 4-4, but 2-2 can’t;

    (b) if the final board is J-9-J-3-4, 5-5 might win with a larger two pair than an opponents’;

    (c) if two pair and no deuces show on the board, 2-2 will always be a worthless hand, unless a deuce completes the only flush. However, 5-5 can sometimes survive as a pair, even if two pair land on the board;

    (d) all of the above

  5. It’s harder to protect a pair of aces in no-limit hold ’em than in limit hold ’em.

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

  6. In pot-limit hold ’em, a good strategy with a superior hand against a single opponent who acts first and checks is to also check all the way to the river and then bet the maximum.

    (a) true;

    (b) false

  7. If you begin a hold ’em hand with A-A and the flop is K-Q-J, no flush possible, what percent of the time will you finish with just the aces you started with after seeing the turn and river cards?

    (a) 58 percent;

    (b) 76 percent;

    (c) 90 percent;

    (d) 41 percent

  8. If you begin a hold ’em hand with 6d 5c, what are the odds against flopping a straight?

    (a) 7 to 1;

    (b) 14 to 1;

    (c) 76 to 1;

    (d) 48 to 1.

  9. You’re in a nine-handed hold ’em game holding A-9. What is the chance that yours is the only ace held before the flop?

    (a) 82 percent;

    (b) 31 percent;

    (c) 11 percent;

    (d) exactly 50 percent.

  10. Which is not an advantage of just calling with A-A in an early position in hold ’em?

    (a) You’re more likely to improve your position by acting after your opponents on subsequent betting rounds;

    (b) If you call and you’re raised and then other players call, you can reraise and potentially build a bigger pot;

    (c) You might earn extra profit from players with weak hands who wouldn’t have played if you had raised;

    (d) Just calling can sometimes be advantageous because it’s a deceptive play.


Answers and explanations (with questions repeated for convenience)

Strategy – Hold ’em (level: advanced)

  1. Disregarding suits, which flop is most profitable, on average, if you’re holding A-10 in hold ’em?

    (a) 2-3-4;

    (b) 10-K-J;

    (c) 10-4-4;

    (d) A-2-2.

    Answer: (c) Disregarding suits, if you hold A-10, then 10-4-4 is a more profitable flop overall than 2-3-4, 10-K-J, or A-2-2.

  2. Disregarding suits, if you begin a hold ’em hand with J-10 and the flop is J-10-A, you should usually…

    (a) bet and reraise if raised;

    (b) check and call if bet into;

    (c) check and raise if bet into;

    (d) bet and fold if raised.

    Answer: (a) Disregarding suits, if you begin a hold ’em hand with J-10 and the flop is J-10-A, you should usually bet and reraise if raised. This applies to limit games and against standard-size raises in no-limit games. While you might occasionally want to check-and-call as a trap or check-and-raise as an act of war, your best tactic most of the time is to bet and then raise back if you’re raised. Keep in mind that you’re in danger here (an ace can win by catching its kicker or pairing the board with a non-jack, non-10, or by making a straight). So, you want to make opponents pay for those opportunities.

  3. Disregarding suits, if you begin with A-9 and the flop is A-9-9, you should usually…

    (a) check and call if bet into;

    (b) check and raise if bet into;

    (c) keep betting and raising until the river;

    (d) check and fold if bet into.

    Answer: (a) Disregarding suits, if you begin with A-9 and the flop is A-9-9, you should usually check and call if bet into. There’s such a high probability that your opponent has a moderate hand, a weak hand, or no competitive hand at all with that flop (considering that you hold both ranks yourself) that you don’t want to risk chasing him out of the pot with either a bet or a raise. Check, then just call.

  4. In which way is 5-5 better than 2-2 as a starting hold ’em hand?

    (a) 5-5 can beat starting pairs 3-3 and 4-4, but 2-2 can’t;

    (b) if the final board is J-9-J-3-4, 5-5 might win with a larger two pair than an opponents’;

    (c) if two pair and no deuces show on the board, 2-2 will always be a worthless hand, unless a deuce completes the only flush. However, 5-5 can sometimes survive as a pair, even if two pair land on the board;

    (d) all of the above.

    Answer: (d) All of the first three listed reasons explain why 5-5 is a better hold ’em starting hand than 2-2: (a) 5-5 can beat starting pairs 3-3 and 4-4, but 2-2 can’t; (b) if the final board is J-9-J-3-4, 5-5- might win with a larger two pair than an opponents’; and if two pair and no deuces show on the board, 2-2 will always be a worthless hand, unless a deuce completes the only flush, while 5-5 can sometimes survive a two-pair board by measuring higher than the smaller pair showing.

  5. It’s harder to protect a pair of aces in no-limit hold ’em than in limit hold ’em.

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

    Answer: (b) It’s false that it’s harder to protect a pair of aces in no-limit hold ’em than in limit hold ’em. In fact, no-limit makes it much easier to protect a pair of aces by betting bigger than your opponents can call. Of course, you often don’t want to chase opponents away in no-limit games when you hold aces. You do, though, want to tax them as much beyond where they’re getting a break-even calling proposition as they’re willing to pay.

  6. In pot-limit hold ’em, a good strategy with a superior hand against a single opponent who acts first and checks is to also check all the way to the river and then bet the maximum.

    (a) true;

    (b) false.

    Answer: (b) It’s pot-limit hold ’em and you’re holding a superior hand against a single opponent who acts first. It’s false that it’s usually a good strategy to keep checking all the way to the river and then betting the maximum after your opponent’s final check. That may occasionally work in no-limit hold ’em, but in pot-limit, since you can only bet the size of the pot, it’s a good idea to build the pot bit by bit with superior hands, so you can wager more and make more money.

  7. If you begin a hold ’em hand with A-A and the flop is K-Q-J, no flush possible, what percent of the time will you finish with just the aces you started with after seeing the turn and river cards?

    (a) 58 percent;

    (b) 76 percent;

    (c) 90 percent;

    (d) 41 percent.

    Answer: (d) If you begin a hold ’em hand with A-A and the flop is K-Q-J, without any flush possible, you can expect to end up with just those two aces 41.4 percent of the time. That means 58.6 percent of the time you will improve, making anything from aces-up to four aces.

  8. If you begin a hold ’em hand with 6d 5c, what are the odds against flopping a straight?

    (a) 7 to 1;

    (b) 14 to 1;

    (c) 76 to 1;

    (d) 48 to 1.

    Answer: (c) If you begin a hold ’em hand with 6d 5c, the odds are 76-to-1 against flopping a straight.

  9. You’re in a nine-handed hold ’em game holding A-9. What is the chance that yours is the only ace held before the flop?

    (a) 82 percent;

    (b) 31 percent;

    (c) 11 percent;

    (d) exactly 50 percent.

    Answer (b) If you’re in a nine-handed hold ’em game holding just one ace before the flop, there’s a 31 percent chance that yours is the only ace that’s been dealt.

  10. Which is not an advantage of just calling with A-A in an early position in hold ’em?

    (a) You’re more likely to improve your position by acting after your opponents on subsequent betting rounds;

    (b) If you call and you’re raised and then other players call, you can reraise and potentially build a bigger pot;

    (c) You might earn extra profit from players with weak hands who wouldn’t have played if you had raised;

    (d) Just calling can sometimes be advantageous because it’s a deceptive play.

    Answer: (a) Just calling with A-A, as an alternative to raising, sometimes has advantages, but improving your position by acting after your opponents on subsequent betting rounds is not one of them.


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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

3 thoughts on “Targeted poker quiz 28: Hold ’em (advanced)”

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  1. 7 – i see only 15 cards to improve (2aces, 3 kings, 3 queens, 3 jacks, 4 tens), so the chance not to improve is:
    32/47 * 31/46 = 45,88%
    not 41.4

    1. You’re right about the turn card, but three new outs show up on the river. Say the turn is a blank (i.e. a 7). Now on the river you’ve got an extra 3 cards to improve.

      Not just the two aces, three kings, three queens, three jacks and four tens — but also the other three sevens. That’s 18 river outs in total, so the original math holds up.

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