Leading from early position is tricky. If you have a good hand, you bet, the table folds, you get no more value out of the hand than was there preflop. Maybe you could have just bought the pot pre.
You can check-raise, if you think that someone is likely to open after you. This is risky, if no one does, and you let the table see a free Turn.
What type of board should you have a lead range? I’m not sure I understand the question; you should bet if you hit, right? And maybe if you didn’t hit, for a bluff. But bluffing out of position into a 4-handed flop seems like a bad idea.
I don’t know if this is the right answer or not, but here’s some thoughts:
You hit top pair, with a good kicker.
Bet, and hope the hand closes. But why didn’t you raise preflop? There could be a lot of good reasons not to, but consider it for next time.
Alternately, check-raise. This is especially good if the last player to act often makes an obligatory bet when no one else bets.
You hit two pair
There’s two types of two pair hands: pairing each of your hole cards to the flop is better; the strength of your hand is hidden, and no one else has a board pair that can give someone trips or a full house.
If you hit a pair with one of your hole cards, and it is complimented by a board pair on the flop, be cautious. If the board pair is in someone’s range, you could be behind. Many players will limp Any Ace Suited, which means that the board pair could potentially be in anyone’s range.
Paired flops are scary to anyone who missed the flop, which can make them decent flops to bluff. But this is maybe better to do with fewer players still in the hand, and from later position. It’s easier to bluff from a big stack, but if you have the big stack, do you really need to bluff here?
You hit trips
If the board pairs, giving you trips, you have a strong hand, but the flop is a bit scary to anyone else who doesn’t have it. It’s likely no one will bet this flop who doesn’t have trips, so if you bet it, you’re repping trips.
You hit a set
Alright, you didn’t raise your pocker pair before the flop, you must have had some reason for that, right? Limping smaller pairs is the right thing to do in a lot of situations, since it’s so easy for someone else to make a bigger pair. But now that you’ve hit a set, now what?
Your limp didn’t betray your hand’s strength, and now your hand is much stronger, you’re almost certainly a head of most other hands. In early position, check-call or check-raise is a good strategy for low sets. For higher sets, you probably should have raised preflop, but if you didn’t, you might as well continue to conceal the strength of your hand, and let your opponents bet into you, and just flat them, and let them think that you might fold to their next bet, to encourage them to bet again.
That said, watch the board complexion. If the board favors a flush or straight draw, you will not want to slow-play the hand, and should instead bet aggressively to close the hand. Lead, or check-raise, but make that check-raise hard to call. Definitely raise small bets, as those are probably coming from someone on a draw trying to keep the betting low.
You hit a straight (or better) on the flop
Usually it’s best to check here and let others build the pot for better value, here, calling anything. Full houses or better, you should obviously do this. No need to lead here, it’s only likely to kill the action. Let them come to you.
With a flush, assess how close you are to having the nut flush. How many unseen cards in the flush suit are over you? If you have low or middle suited connectors and flopped a flush with it, it’s different than if you flopped a nut flush. A nut flush you can usually slow play, and be careful only if the board pairs. Less than a nut flush, you may want to close the hand, hoping that unsuited high cards in your suit will fold before they can fill.
With a straight, it’s tempting to slow play, but you will need to be more aware of the board texture. Suited boards and paired boards can be bad news, and especially if there’s two pair on the board. You also want to be aware of how you’re hand is making the straight. If you’re on the bottom end, there’s risk you could have someone beat you on the top end of the straight. If you have gappers in the middle of the straight, it’s less likely that anyone else has hit it. If you’re holding the top end of the straight, that’s the best, maybe someone else will have the bottom end and you’ll take them for a huge pot. You might want to open if the board is two-suited on the flop, to fold possible flush draws. Alternately, you can check-raise here.
You flop a draw
I’m talking a real draw, an OESD or four to a high flush, not an inside draw or backdoor draws or low flushes. I’m also not talking about two pairs or trips that are drawing to a full house, as those hands are already made and have strength. But Pair + a Draw is included here, if it’s not Top Pair.
In early position, you probably don’t want to bet draws. Sometimes players will small bet their draws, thinking that if they get a few to fold, and maybe someone else calls, it will keep the pot odds reasonable for them to see if they can fill the draw. I don’t think I’ve seen this work as well at higher stakes. Someone else is bound to bet for you, and if enough call, you can still get OK pot odds to just call. If you bet, you want to bet smaller, which is likely to invite a raise from late position. You may get the rest of the table to just call you, but if you do get raised you’ll probably have to dump the hand.
Of course you don’t want to invest a lot of chips drawing to something that won’t win, so don’t stay in for a draw to a straight when there’s an implied flush, etc.
So I guess in summary, it seems like leading from early position is good if you have a hand like Top Pair, good kicker, or two pair, and stronger hands may be better off check-raising.
Stack sizes do play a part in this of course, and you should play accordingly.