Owner and Lead Pro
Professional Cash game trainer Bart Hanson has been producing strategy content for over fifteen years. He first started on Live at the Bike! back in 2005, then moved on to host "Cash Plays" on Poker Road, then "Deuce Plays" on Deuces Cracked and then to CrushLivePoker in 2012.
In his career as a professional poker player, Bart Hanson has:
-6 WSOP Final Tables
-Over 15 years of experience at the table
-Over $1,000,000 in tournament earnings
-Multiple appearances on ESPN and Poker Night in America
-4th place finish in 2019 WSOP Monster Stack
4 flush runouts in NL Holdem cause interesting “unique” un-bluffable... @CrushLivePoker
4 flush runouts in NL Holdem cause interesting “unique” un-bluffable scenarios
One of the more interesting and “absolute” situations in Holdem is boards that contain a four flush, that are unpaired. Unlike other runouts, it is easy for someone to hold the absolute nuts as it only requires a single card from the deck as opposed to a combination of two cards. Because of this it makes a particular situation “un-bluffable” by a player and should cause someone to only call a raise or reraise with the “nut” flush if there is any possibility of a straight flush.
For the purpose of clarity when I mention “nut flush” in this article I am talking about the highest ranked flush, like an ace high flush, or a king high flush, when an ace is present on the board. Even though this technically might not be the “nut flush” if a straight flush is present that is how most people for the most part use the term.
A few days ago I played a very interesting hand at the Bicycle Casino’s Legends of Poker Main event that demonstrates what I am talking about. With the blinds 250-500-75 I had about a 65k stack. It got folded around to me on the button and I raised A♠ 9♣ to1300. Both blinds, sitting each with about 25k, called. The flop came out K♠ Q♠ 7♠ and both players checked to me. In retrospect, I think that I should bet here a lot of the time as I rarely will get check raised unless somewhat flopped a flush. I think pocket kings and queens always rereaise preflop and with a decent frequency so does KQ. So unlike a board that comes out say 4♠ 5♠ 6♠ , where I might not get a lot of fold equity when I make a continuation bet, this board is actually rather ripe for it. This time, however, I decided to check back the flop and add a little bit of deception to my nut flush draw.
The turn brought out the beautiful J♠ giving me the one card “nut flush”. Both players checked to me again and I decided to bet super tiny, $1200, to make it look like I was bluffing at the pot. Much to my surprise, both of my opponents called.
The river rolled off a 5th spade and the final board looked like K♠ Q♠ 7♠ J♠ 6♠. Now anyone with a spade lower than the 6♠ played the board. Both players checked to me again and this time I bet small again, $2200. Unbelievably the small blind thought about it and raised me to $8200!! The big blinded folded and the action was back to me. On this particular board there are two combinations of straight flushes, A♠ T♠ and 9♠ T♠. Because I held the A♠ in my hand that combo was impossible so the only hand that I could lose to was the 9♠ T♠. That however does not mean that I should rereaise this bet, however. You see, in this unique situation in Holdem where I could easily hold the one card nut with the A♠, it is basically impossible that someone would ever raise for value with a worse hand, say the second nut T♠, AND call a reraise. And that is the case simply because if the player with the T♠ does not have the A♠, I can. In my exact position, my play of reraising his check raise, in essence, can never be a bluff in the absolute sense, because if I don’t hold at least the A♠ my opponent can. So no matter how unlikely it is for him to have 9♠ T♠ I absolutely cannot reraise his check raise as he will never call me with a worse hand. I ended up thinking for a bit, and said “well I don’t have the 9♠ in my hand, I just call”. He then sheepishly turned over 3♣ 3♠ to play the board.
As you can see this is much different than any other board where people can have different strengths of full houses, quads, or higher flushes where they have to use both cards in their hand. This situation is the only one in holdem where it is easy for a player to have the absolute nuts, because they only have to hold one specific card. And because of the ease of this situation it is impossible for another player to reraise a raise as a bluff because they simply do not hold that card.
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