Flopped flush draws are one of the most exciting things in
poker. You know that you have a big hand even though it’s not
yet a made hand, and the prospect of stacking someone when that
next card hits is always thrilling. Of course, you aren’t
always going to hit the winner, and you will need to play the
hand optimally in an effort to lose the least amount of money in
those situations where you just can’t catch. There will
inevitably be streaks of time where you just can’t seem to catch
a break no matter what you do. You can’t make a pair with AK and
you never hit your big draws. This is all part of poker, but the
best winning players know that they can reduce the effect of
this brutal side of the game by playing their draws as well as
A flopped flush draw can mean a few different things. You
could either have one of a suit with three on the board, or two
to a suit with two on the board. Needless to say, you are much
more likely to get paid off when you have two of the suit in
your hand. Not only is your hand more deceptive, but it’s also
less likely that your opponent too is chasing after the
flush. Within these two different types of flopped flush draws
there will be some pieces of strategy that remain static and
some strategy that changes. No two flush draws are ever alike,
well, not usually anyway.
Limped pots are the best way to add all kinds of deception to
your hand. If you are in the blinds or limped from somewhere else at the table, your
opponents will naturally be inclined to discount the likelihood
of you playing with a flush draw. For whatever reason, this is
the absolute easiest way to be completely deceptive with your
flush draw hands on the flop.
Leading out or making a raise is going to be the strategy
that sees the most long term success with flopped flush draws in
limped pots. You’ll be putting the pressure on your opponents
and they won’t be as likely to put you on a draw, with the
reason being that most people play these types of hands very
passively. Passive play and their correlation with draws is the
reason why calling bets is very detrimental to your success. If
you call bets on a draw heavy board and then only raise when the
draw hits, even the most amateur of poker players should be able
to pinpoint what type of hand you have.
Raised pots are a bit trickier than limped pots in these
situations for the reason that they entail more risk. You’ll
have more money already invested into the pot, meaning that you
now have to put more money on the line with each street that you
play. With this understood, you need to be prepared and even
willing to get all of the money in the middle when you flop a
With a raised pot, you are more likely to face a raise when you
bet, but you’ll also be more deceptive when you flat call than
if it was a limped pot. You see, in raised pots, players tend to
feel like their opponents are less likely to flop draws and are
more likely to have hands like pairs, over cards, and so on and
so forth. Where calling bets was weak and sub-optimal in limped
pots with flopped flush draws, it can easily stack the majority
of players when in a raised pot. Funny how that works, huh?
Three to a Flush
A flop with three to a flush is going to be the least likely
to get you paid and also the worst time to get all of your money
in the middle. The reason that it’s least likely to stack a
player is because your hand is going to be very apparent to any
thinking player. You can’t really be deceptive about it other
than to shove on the flop, and this is hardly going to be a
Even if you have the ace of hearts and the flop comes 6h 8h
2h, getting it all in on the flop won’t make sense in the
majority of situations. If you consider the hands that you are
likely going to get all in on this type of flop, it will usually
be polarized to sets and made flushes, with the odd over pair
mixed in. No matter how you look at it, another heart is both
not guaranteed to be a winner and is less likely to come.
If your opponent already has a made flush, two of your outs are
gone from the deck. If your opponent has a set, even a heart
will lose the hand for you if the board pairs. You should play
these types of hands passively and milk the most out of them
that you can, but do your best to wait until you have already
made the flush before you get too crazy.
Two to a Flush
This is the most frequent flush draw scenario and is also the
most likely to get you paid off. The value in these flush draws
is going to depend on a couple of different factors, all of
which are going to be known to you. First, is the board paired.
If the board is paired, your flush draw loses an awful lot of
value, even if it’s the nut flush draw.
Not only will there be
a better chance that your opponent will make a full house, but
you are going to have a tougher time extracting value from
smaller flushes when you hit. Pretend that the board reads Jh 5d
5h on the flop. If the 6h comes on the turn and you bet and get
a call, any river is going to be scary to your opponent. Imagine
that they have 8h 3h. Not only does a full house have them beat,
but so too does almost any other flush.
The next pertinent element to consider on these types of
flops is just how strong your draw is. If you have the nut flush
draw vs. the nut low draw, you are going to be a lot more
confident in your hand. Some players disregard their flush draw
strength and just assume that any made flush is going to be the
winning hand. The flaw with this approach has two parts. First,
a low flush can lose to a runner runner card that allows for a
four card flush to trump your turned low flush.
Second, you are going to frequently get your money in against better flushes
when the draw completes, if only for the fact that players stack
off less often on draw heavy boards with anything but the draw
itself. Playing flopped flush draws can be challenging, but when
you take a step back to analyze the hand in question, there
shouldn’t be anything all too mystifying.
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