how to play flush draws

Knowing how to play the flush draw in Texas Hold'em requires subtlety. Knowing how to go for your draws is one of the most powerful money-making stratagems. You can get gigantic payoffs but also hedge against major losses. You just need to be disciplined, and know what to look for.


One of the biggest things to look for when it comes to going for a flush is the "suited connector"; a pocket deal like 10-9 suited. These are magnificent because, depending on how the flop texture comes, you can also go for a straight in addition to going for a flush draw, and these are perfect for semi-bluffing or changing gears; a lot of the time you can just limp in with them in low-stakes games, yet they carry a giant payoff if you get your draw cards. At the same time, they're easy to move away from if you don't get the board texture that you need, and you can either make another hand or cut your losses and fold.

Any suited connector cards starting from 9-10 and on up are the "big" suited connectors. You will usually bet these from any position, then play them depending on what kind of other action and reaction you get from that. "Small" suited connectors usually should only be played from late position because they're easy to re-raise and then beat with overcards. However, ask yourself how aggressive your game is. Don't alter your normal game style just because you get these cards, unless you decide that you are going to change gears in order to make yourself more difficult to read by your opponents. So, that means, if you're a true aggressive player you may want to play them from an earlier position (but be disciplined and know when to fold'em).

With suited connectors, then, bigger is better; for with these, you have the chance to get hands that give you top pair. However, remember that if you get a King or an Ace suited with a small card (8 or less), be cautious, and always limp in unless you're in late position; and if someone re-raises, fold them.

  • Tip: As the amount in the pot increases, you can get looser with your calls, and if you're in late position you can play with small suited connectors like 5-7. Why? The threat of a raise is minimal while you still have the giant payoff potential if you get the flop you need.

Having said all this, let's run some numbers.


  • If the flop only brings you one of your outs, you will usually end up folding on the flop. Getting two running cards to get your flush carries 55:1 odds against.
  • The flush draw is the most common drawing hand. You've got approximately 2:1 odds to make the flush on either the turn or the river if you make four to a flush on the flop; if you make that by the turn, your odds of nailing it on the river go to approximately 4:1.
  • Let's say that your flop comes so that you switch up and decide to go for the straight. With the gutshot straight draw on the flop, the odds are 5:1 that you'll make your draw on the turn or the river. Those odds go to 10.5:1 for the river if you miss on the turn. With an open ended straight draw on the flop, your odds of getting the needed texture on the turn or the river are approximately 2:1. Miss the flop and stay in for the turn, your odds are 4.75:1 to make your straight on the river.

Also, remember to keep up your skills with calculating both pot odds and implied odds to help you decide how aggressively to go for the draws.

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