Before we cut to the chase, getting to know the basics is imperative.

What is a full house?

A Full-House is a five-carded hand which consists of a three-of-a-kind and a pair. Its hand rank is higher than the flush but lower than a four-of-a-kind and a straight-flush. It is one of the best hands you can have in a game.

They are ranked first by the three-of-a-kind and then by the pair that follows. For example, fours full of twos (4-4-4-2-2) beats threes full of aces (3-3-3-A-A).

Generally, flopping a full-house is quite rare. Statistically, you have a 0.09% chance of flopping a full house. There are several different ways to make a full house but all have two distinct beginnings. You can either have a pocket pair or two unpaired cards. Having a pocket pair can offer you a couple of ways to make a full house. Holding a pair such as 8-8 and then flopping one on a board like 6-6-8 or 5-5-5. Another way to get a full house with a pair in the hole is to flop a set – 9-9 on a board like 9-5-3 – and then wait for the turn or river to bring a 3 or 5.

How to play a full house

Getting paid with a full house boils down to maximising its value. The decision rests on whether you should play your hand fast or slow.

When deciding this there are some factors to consider, such as how strong you think your opponent(s) are and how many players are in the pot. If you move into a pot with 4-4 and five players see a flop of 4-A-A it’s a safe bet to assume that someone has an ace up their sleeve and you can go about building a pot by betting and hoping to get raised.

If the pot is heads-up on a flop revealing 7-2-2 and you have a 7-7, then you have options. The default option here is to play slow on such a dry board, but to inculcate a balanced strategy. Leading out is a good option with aggressive players who will believe you’re making a standard continuation bet and raise you. Versus passive opponents, however, you might choose to check and permit them to catch up. All options are wide open, but remember one important thing to consider when providing an opponent a free card and an opportunity to catch up are: will you actually get any more chips from your opponent(s) by feigning weakness if they miss out on subsequent streets?

Going all-in?

If your opponent is still around at the river after some huge betting, it is likely he’s got a powerful hand. The urge to bet and guarantee a call is strong, but a good option is to make an all-in overbet. If you have say, 3,000 chips left and the pot is 3,000, betting 1,000 will almost always warrant a call, however going all-in for 3,000 may offer greater expectation in the long run. The bet has to get called roughly 25% of the time for it to be more lucrative than the small value bet.

In most situations having a full house most certainly means you have one hand on the jackpot, but it requires skill and strategy to actually maximise from your hand while you play poker in India.