Flush Draw in poker

Flush draw in pokerA flush draw is a hand that is one card short of making a flush. In simple words: four cards of the same suit or an incomplete flush. This kind of situation occurs on the flop and turn. There is no point in counting it on the river, since the flushdraw is not a finished combination.

What is a flush draw?

In poker, the "draw" is used to indicate an incomplete combination, which lacks 1-2 cards to strengthen. It is usually applied to straights and flushes (straight draws, flush draws, and straight flush draws).

The flush is considered one of the strongest combinations. It is inferior in strength to four of a kind (4 cards of the same rank), full house (3 cards of one rank + 2 cards of another rank or set + pair) and royal flush (the highest straight flush), but beats straight, set, two pairs, top pair and other pairs.

Flush draw examples:

Flush draw example

There are several types of flush draws, depending on its strength:

  • backdoor (three-card flush draw or one that lacks two cards);
  • medium a regular flush draw with 9 outs;
  • strong an incomplete hand in which there are several draws or a ready weak combination in addition to a draw hand;
  • straight flush draw (when you can collect straight flush);
  • monster draw when a player has a straight draw and a flush draw at the same time.

Don't confuse straight flush draws with monster draws.

Straight-flush-draw and monster draw

The first variation shows a straight flush draw, while the second shows a monster draw. The monster draw has 15 outs if it is open-ended and 11 if it is gut-shot (that is, the straight will appear only if one necessary card comes in its middle). Straight flush draws have the same number of outs for making straight and flush, but there are 1-2 outs for straight flush (or royal flush). A straight flush draw can be called a monster draw, while a monster draw is not always a straight flush draw.

Backdoor flush draw

You may have heard the term "backdoor flush draw", but what is it? The answer is actually simple. A backdoor flush draw is a draw that lacks two cards to make a flush. In other words, a situation where you have three cards of the same suit on the flop. In such a situation, in order to get a flush, you need cards of the right suit on the turn AND on the river.

Examples of backdoor flush draws:

Backdoor flush draw

It is estimated that about 4% of the time, a backdoor flush draw on the river turns into a made combination.

In holdem, this situation occurs in three cases:

  • the player has suited pocket cards and one card of the same suit is dealt on the flop;
  • all flop cards are suited (in this case, the player can only hope for a deal if the flush is on the table);
  • two flop cards of the same suit as one of the cards in the player's hand.

Backdoor draws are also called runner-runner draws. This concept is applied not only to the flush, but also to other combinations, for which 2 cards are needed. For example, there is a backdoor straight draw.


You can get a flush draw on the flop, however, you also can get a made flush.

But draws are much easier to make. If the chance of you hitting a flush on the flop with suited pocket cards is 0.84%, then the chance of hitting a draw in this situation is 10.9%.

The chance of getting a flush on the turn with 4 suited cards is 19%, and the chance of hitting with such a draw on the river is 20%.

The probability of making a flush on the river if the hole cards were of the same suit is 6.4%.


Since a typical 52-card deck has 13 cards of each suit, it is easy to count the outs to win with a flush draw.

13 4 (existing cards in hand) = 9 outs that can strengthen your hand.

In a backdoor flush draw on the flop, there are 10 outs to win, but if the right suit does not come on the turn, then the flush will no longer work, and if it does, then the same 9 outs will remain.

How to play with flush draw

There are entire strategies for playing flush draws. To summarize, there are three lines for an incomplete flush on the flop:

  1. Aggressive to bet or raise, in order to take the pot right now and not take risks on the next streets, or with the expectation of increasing the pot and taking more money in case of hitting a flush.
  2. Passive to check or call a small bet with the hope of catching a flush on the next streets and then boldly raise.
  3. Fold. Flush draws are not always worth playing. For example, if the opponent makes big bets or even goes all-in on a dangerous board, on which he can have a full house or a set with the probability of strengthening.Think not only about your own cards, but also about the likely cards of the opponent, and if everything indicates that he may have a full house or a higher flush draw, sometimes it is simply better to fold, because even if you get the right card you can still lose.

We recommend reading related topics:

Tilt, Bluff.

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