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28/01/2008 No. 58
he Guardian G2 Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Monday Jan 28, 2008

Time for a new variant! It's been a while, hasn't it? Let me introduce you to the joys of Double Flop hold 'em. It's just like regular Texas hold 'em, but (after burning one card each time) you deal two flops, two turns and two rivers instead of one. The pot is split between the best hands on each of the boards.

Friends in your regular home game, who might be resistant to playing Omaha hi-lo or Super Six card replace (because they are familiar only with hold 'em), can be warmed up to the beautiful rainbow of poker variants with a bit of double flop. There are no tricky new rules to learn, only the excellent principles of variety and extra action.

Once you've sucked them in, how do you take their money? As with any other split-pot game, your primary aim is to "scoop", by winning both pots. Suited royal cards are the most promising, because they might deliver you top pair or top two on one flop, with a big draw on the other. High pairs are still good, but small pairs should be thrown away: even if you flop a set on one of the boards, you're likely to have nothing on the other.

If you hit big on one flop, try to keep the pot multi-way. It's mathematically obvious: if you can only win half the pot, you want at least three people contributing to it. If another opponent is betting aggressively, don't reraise to isolate him unless you have a shot to win both flops. If you aren't 100% sure that you're winning on one of the flops, fold rather than play heads-up.

With that simple strategy, you can make a profit at this brilliant game. And if you enjoy double flop, you'll love triple . . .

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