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How To Play Flush Draws

Article By: RuffPoker.com

Learning how to play a certain hand may seem like a valuable tool, but we’re going to teach you a much better one: how to ask a better question.

Maybe it’s the uniform color and shape, maybe it’s the thought that a flush is a great hand, or maybe it’s just because some poker players like to gamble. Whatever the reason, flush draws are some of the most commonly misplayed hands in the world of Texas Hold ‘em. All too often, a player will run into trouble with flush draws more than any other kind of hand. Though learning how to play these hands is important, it isn’t as important as learning how to ask a better question. Let us explain.

One of the most common questions we hear is: “How do I play a flush draw?” Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer. Why? Because the question itself is a really bad one. If you are a poker player, the hand you have is only one of the questions you need to ask yourself when you are trying to determine what you want to do next. There are numerous other factors that are just as important, and determining your play based on only one of these is never a good idea. What are we talking about? Here is an example:

Bad Question: How should I play a flush draw?

Good Question:

I’m in a no-limit tournament at Full Tilt Poker with about half the field eliminated so far. I’m at a table of 9 players, blinds blinds are $100 - $200, and I’m a little above average in chip count with $4,200. The table has been playing mostly tight, but the chip leader, with $6,300, is a blaster who likes to take risks, while the low-stack, with $1,300, has shown good discipline. I’m 2 behind the button and I’ve been dealt A-7 hearts. I limped-in with 3 other players ($800 pot) including the button and the two blinds. The flop came off 5, 3, K with 2-hearts. The small blind checked and the big blind (the chip leader) bets half the pot, making it $1200. How should I play this flush draw?

Though the difference between the two questions hinges on a single word ('a' vs 'this'), that difference makes all the difference in the world. A bad players asks the general question of how do they play a flush draw, while the good player asks a detailed question on how to play this flush draw.

To play a flush draw, any flush draw, you must always know what else is going on at the table. You need to know who you are playing against, your position at the table, pot amount, the value of the blinds, the chip-stacks of the other players, etc. All of these factors will influence how you should play a hand. Asking how you should play a flush draw is a useless question unless you know all the other factors.

So let’s take a look at the example above. The big blind chip leader has bet and the action is to you. You know the chip leader is a blaster who likes to be aggressive. He bet at the pot after checking his big blind, meaning he could have nothing or perhaps hit on one of the weak cards. At this point, you have to call $400 to get into a $1,600 pot (4:1 pot odds), and you have a 35% chance of making your hand. Because of the favorable pot odds and the fact that the bet was placed by a loose player, you can probably make this call.

However, there are still other factors to consider. How will the two players behind you act? How close are you to getting into the money? Will the blaster put you all-in if you don’t hit your card on the turn and is it worth it to risk your stack to find out? Knowing the answers to these questions will also determine what play you will make.

In short, if you take anything from this article, take this: Asking the right question is vital. A good player knows how to ask a good question, while a bad player only knows how to ask bad ones.