One thing you’ll quickly learn after a few poker games is just how different every game is. Many factors are constantly changing, such as who you’re up against, the cards you have, and your position at the table. It’s your job to adapt to these changes instead of using the same strategy in every situation.
The perfect example of this is dealing with board texture. The community cards in the middle are some of the most essential information you can get in the game, yet a surprising amount of poker players don’t consider them and how they affect strategy. In this poker guide, we’ll cover different scenarios with different boards and explain how your strategy should change for each one.
Board Texture 101: Wet and Dry
Before we get into specific examples, here’s a quick rundown of board texture. Board texture is a way to describe the community cards based on how conducive they are to making a strong hand. Boards are usually evaluated on a scale of “dry” to “wet” based on how likely they are to create a strong hand.
Dry boards mean strong, five-card hands like straights and flushes are improbable. The cards are far apart in rank, meaning straights are less likely to appear since no connectors or consecutive cards exist. They’re also rainbow, meaning different suits, so they’re less likely to make a flush. On a dry board, the strongest hands at the showdown will be the same as the strongest ones pre-flop, since most drawing hands miss.
Wet boards mean it’s likelier for strong, five-card hands to be present. They often have many consecutive cards and cards of the same suit, increasing the chances of both straights and flushes. Wet boards make post-flop strategy incredibly complex and exciting since hand strength has the potential to change a lot due to the abundance of draws.
Board Texture Examples: Rainbow Disconnected
Rainbow means all cards are of different suits. Disconnected means the cards are far apart in rank. These factors combine to make rainbow disconnected boards the driest kind of board in the game. Some examples of rainbow disconnected boards include Kc-4s-8d and Ac-5d-Ts.
Many players will fold when they see a rainbow disconnected board because it is dry. Anybody who played a drawing hand pre-flop is out of luck, so this board favors the pre-flop aggressor far more than the pre-flop caller since the caller is more likely to have a drawing hand and the aggressor is more likely to have a premium hand like pocket aces.
The biggest tip for handling rainbow disconnected and other very dry boards as the pre-flop aggressor is betting smaller. Everyone is likelier to fold for value betting because of the board. Trying to value bet too big may make a player fold a mediocre hand like K4 offsuit instead of staying in the pot.
Since players are more likely to fold, you don’t need to bet too big when trying to bluff. A smaller bet will accomplish the same thing, which is more efficient since you risk less money for the same result.
Board Texture Examples: Paired Boards
Paired boards are when the board has two cards of the same rank, like Ac-Kd-Ks or 9s-4s-9c. They’re unique because they have a chance of making three-of-a-kinds or full houses but are difficult to connect with for most hands. Generally, you can treat them similarly to rainbow disconnected boards and pressure your opponents with smaller but frequent bets.
However, a critical thing to consider with paired boards is which player’s range they benefit from. If a paired board has high-ranked cards like aces and kings, it benefits the pre-flop aggressor since they’re likely to have hands like AK and AA. If the board favors your range, feel free to play aggressively with more frequent bets.
In contrast, the pre-flop caller is likelier to have hands with low-ranked cards like fives and sixes. When the paired board favors your opponent’s range, you have to be more wary and less aggressive since they’re more likely to have a three-of-a-kind or full house than you are.
Board Texture Examples: Monotone Boards
Finally, monotone boards, also known as flush boards, are incredibly rare. They are when the board cards are in the same suit, like Kc-6c-8c or 4h-6h-9h. On these boards, you have to respect the potential for a flush and play a more defensive strategy, checking far more frequently.
With fantastic hands like completed flushes, you can value bet big if you think your opponent also has a flush draw, since they’ll be less inclined to fold if they’re still waiting on a draw. However, you must know that you might lose to a flush with a stronger kicker.
With more mediocre hands like weak flush draws, you don’t want to bet. If your kicker is weak, like a seven, you should check instead of betting since even if you make your hand on the turn or river, it won’t be strong enough to value bet with since someone else might have a stronger flush. These hands will work better as bluff-catchers instead of being used for showdown value.
Play more games in less time online!
Here are some of the most common types of boards in poker, along with detailed strategies for each one. To be able to see all these boards in action, we recommend you play poker online. The games are more streamlined, resulting in a faster pace. Playing more poker hands per hour, you’ll see all kinds of boards, so you can develop your own strategy for each one!