Five Quick Tips—How to Play a Flush

GLOBAL POKER’S
FIVE QUICK TIPS

HOW TO PLAY A FLUSH IN POKER

With only four other card combinations ahead of a flush in the rankings, it is very much a hand worth investing some of your stack in. Only a full house, royal flush, straight flush and four of a kind can beat it, and realistically, you are only likely to run into one of those regularly. Four of a kind is rare, and a straight flush and a royal are virtually never seen, don’t discount them as a possibility, but you probably won’t see more than a handful of them during your time at the poker tables. Playing a flush can be a somewhat tricky prospect, but if approached carefully, you should be able to come away with a favourable result most of the time. Here are five quick tips for playing a flush.

1. PICK YOUR STRATEGY WISELY, BUT BE READY TO ADJUST

Depending on what other players are doing, you may need to adjust your strategy on the fly. Don't get overcommitted to one; you may need to swap between slow playing and outright aggression at a moment’s notice. Just because you have a good hand doesn't mean you’ll win a big pot; a lot of the time, it comes down to how you play the cards.

2. TRY TO AVOID CHASING FREQUENTLY

A flush is a good hand—if you can hit it. Most of the time suited cards are deceptively bad; a common mistake is to stay in the game in the vein hope of making a flush, when you should fold. Flushes are not as frequent as you might think, and if you don’t hit the flush, you’re left with two useless suited cards. Don’t fall into a habit of chasing a flush just because you have two suited cards, otherwise you may find your stack decreasing at an alarmingly pace. Pick your spots carefully, wait for cards that have a high statistical chance of making a flush, and allocate a portion of your stack that you’re willing to risk chasing.

3. BLUFF OR FOLD

If you find yourself left with two useless suited cards after missing your flush draw, there are only two options left, bluff, or fold. Folding is straightforward enough, but if you decide to bluff, decide how much you are willing to risk on the ruse. Think very carefully about what your opponents could have based on the cards dealt on the board. Look at their demeanour, how they’ve bet previously, and any other tells that might present themselves. Stick to your limit, and don’t invest too much of your stack on bluffing.

4. BE ON GUARD FOR A HIGHER FLUSH

There is nothing more demoralising than heading to the river with a flush, only to find out your opponent has a slightly higher one. So, if you make a low flush, and it relies on four or more cards on the board, be alert for signs that somebody else has a higher flush. Look at the other players’ demeanour, how they’ve bet previously, and any other tells that might present themselves; it may just save your chips, and your sanity.

5. WATCH FOR FOUR OF A KIND AND A STRAIGHT FLUSH

The odds of someone getting four of a kind, or a straight flush are low, but that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore them as a potential threat. If the flop and turn come out 4, 5, 6, and 7 of diamonds, you need to consider the possibility that someone might have a 3 or 8 of diamonds. Don’t get overconfident; just because you’ve hit your flush doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to win the pot.