In Texas Hold'em, the first common cards dealt are the three cards known as the flop. Then we proceed to deal the Turn and the River, which are single cards. Is there any specific reason why we first deal multiple cards and then single cards? How would the game be different if we dealt all five common cards separately, and have a betting round between each?


3 Answers 3


The flop eliminates a majority of reasonable players because they have such a low probability of winning anything. With a dripfed board, they would stay for longer and commit more, thereby being priced in despite having no real chance.

It avoids early big bets by high pocket pairs and (suited) connectors that have caught something from the first single card or the first two community cards, from taking a pot based on the luck of their pocket.

Overall, it turns a game based on luck into one that allows for substantial skill, without eliminating player choice in how to play the game.

  • I'd upvote this more than once if I could. Excellent answer.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 18:27

It limits the number of betting rounds to four. There are bets before the flop, after the flop, after the turn, and after the river. If we had bets after each card, there would be more like six bets. Also, there are two "cheap" bets (pre and post flop) and two "expensive" (double) bets after the turn and river. The idea is to allow people to see most of their cards before the two big bets. Assuming no raises, the ratio of bets is 1, 1, 2,2, after seeing two, five, six and seven cards.

In seven card stud, there are two small bets after seeing the third and fourth card, and three large bets after seeing the fifth, sixth, and seventh cards. The ratio of bets is 1, 1, 2,2,2, after seeing three, four, five, six and seven cards.

The structure of cheap, versus expensive bets somewhat reduces the luck factor, for people that didn't get great first two cards (three in stud). Allowing people to see five cards (in hold em) before making more than one bet puts a greater premium on skill over luck.

  • Pot control
    5 betting rounds is just too much betting. Where we now have push fold charts at 20-30 bb would have push fold charts at 40-60 bb.
  • Narrow the range
    It would take away from playing a drawing hands like 89s as you are facing too many bets before you know where you stand. Even play 66 is not profitable as now you are 1/25 to hit rather than 1/8. If you do hit on card 1 they did not so 1 street of value is gone.
  • Get value
    If you smash the flop it already hard to get 3 streets of value. Get 5 streets of value would be near impossible.
  • Multi street bluff is harder Firing on 3 streets is already expensive. 5 streets would take at like 200 bb behind. Would be forced to play hands fast (not see many rivers).
  • Hand is not defined
    Your hand is not really defined until the flop. No speculative hands get there until the flop. Some interesting math comes into play by the flop.

I get there is another answer it would make it more a game of skill but I disagree. So much more play would just be by charts. Play a more narrow range is not good for pros. If I don't hit on card 1 I kind of need to release unless holding an ace.

It would be so much more expensive I think less amateurs would play or they would play the penny games on line. Pros want fish on the live table playing $2/$4 and that drop way down.

Would not be good for the game in any way in my opinion.

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