Five Quick Tips—How to Play a Straight Flush

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FIVE QUICK TIPS

HOW TO PLAY A STRAIGHT FLUSH IN POKER

A straight flush is the second-best hand in the poker rankings. It has five cards in numerical order, all of the same suit. The best possible version is a royal flush, consisting of the ace, king, queen, jack and ten of the same suit. The only card combination that can beat a straight flush, is a higher straight flush. Because of the relatively few hands that can beat a straight flush, with a little bit of luck and good judgment thrown into the mix, it presents an opportunity to chip up. Here are five quick tips for playing a straight flush in poker.

1. TAKE YOUR TIME—STRAIGHT FLUSH DON’T RUSH

If you have been lucky enough to score a straight flush, don't be in a rush and race to the finish. Take a breath and think about what your best course of action might be. Don’t fall into the habit of making decisions automatically without thinking about it. A straight flush is an extremely rare hand, and it's worth taking a moment before acting.

2. CHECK FOR A HIGHER COMBO, JUST IN CASE

The odds of getting a straight flush are very low, so it's doubtful you will encounter more than a few in your entire poker playing lifetime. The chance of someone else having a higher straight flush combo is even lower, but it's worth taking a second to look anyway, just in case there is an obvious one on the board.

3. DO NOT BACK DOWN

Regardless of how high the betting gets, do not be bullied out of a pot and fold if you have a straight flush. You should win nearly every time with a straight flush; you'd have to be pretty unlucky to lose. It's one of the few hands that you should consider playing to the bitter end; otherwise, you may regret folding when you see your opponent bluffed you with a pair of tens.

4. THINK ABOUT YOUR OPPONENTS’ CARDS, NOT JUST YOUR OWN

The worst thing about getting a high-ranking hand in poker is when everyone else folds at the first sign of aggression. That's why it's important to try and get a rough idea of what cards your opponents’ hold so you can modify your betting to keep people in the round. Raise too high, and people with lower hands will fold, while if you aim too low, it's not profitable. If nobody is betting big, try to increase the stakes, make a small bet, only a few chips more than the previous wager. Look for tells and other signs that might provide clues. Trying to figure out your opponents’ cards is a fundamental part of poker, but it's even more critical when trying to maximize the profitability of your cards.

5. SLOW PLAY

Slow playing can be extremely valuable when you have a high ranked hand like a straight flush. By appearing weak, you can trick your opponents into making large wagers as they try to force you out of the hand. Slow play if your opponents are betting aggressively, only call their bets until the turn, then double their bet, and push them all in if necessary.