Reading Flop Textures

On any given hand, once you are able to determine your relative hand strength, the next step is to decide how to proceed based on the texture of the flop. The cards that come on the board determine thepossibilityofyouropponentsconnectingwithit,whichinturnimpactsyourbettingstrategy. You will need to learn how different hand ranges connect with different boards and how to form plans accordingly. Mostplayersinvesttoomuchmoneyinthewrongpotsandnotenoughinothers,with incorrect bet sizing and frequency.

There are three different types of flops: dry flops, wet flops, and flops that fall somewhere in between. The first step to honing your board-reading ability is to be able to immediately categorize the various types at a glance. For the intermediate strategy, I have made things very simple. There are only two board textures you will need to know how to read, Dry and Wet.

Dry Flops

A dry board is one that is poorly coordinated and does not allow for the possibility of many made hands or draws. Generally, dry boards are unlikely to connect with the ranges of our opponents and will typically show a much higher success rate for c-betting. Since most players are only playing their cards, you should expect much stronger made hands to be turned up when all-in on dry boards.

There are varying degrees of dryness. Some flops are completely dry, such as paired boards or boards that have one or less high cards with significant spacing between them. Other flops are more neutral, such as two-tone boards with no straight draws or monotone boards with a low card straight draw.

Examples of Dry Flops:

2♦7♥2♠

9♣ 9♥4♦

K♦8♠2♣

Q♠5♥5♣

A♣ A♦9♠

2♦6♣ J♠

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Wet Flops

Wet Boards are highly coordinated and tend to contain multiple straight draws and typically include the possibility of a flush draw. These types of boards connect well with a variety of ranges, thus your c-bet success will tend to be lower.

My post-flop philosophy as a small stacker is that wet boards should be played very fast if you have a strong hand or draw. Opponents will tend to stack off lighter against short stacks with both weaker than average draws and made hands. Therefore, you will almost always want as much money in the pot as possible before the turn.

Examples of Wet Flops:

9♥6♣ J♥

K♠Q♣ T♦

4♦6♦8♣

J♠7♥Q♣

9♦9♠T♦

T♠8♠5♠

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Neutral Flops

Neutral flops fall somewhere in between dry and wet ones. How you approach hand planning on neutral flops is mainly determined by the number of players involved in the hand. A good rule of thumb is that if a flop is neutral, then you should err on the side of wet in multi-way pots and dry when heads up.

Truly dry boards will tend not to hit anyone, even multi-way, while neutral boards will usually in some way hit at least one of the multiple players. You will need to develop your judgment in this area, but for now, it’s best to keep things simple.

Examples of Neutral Flops:

7♣ 6♥K♠

A♠J♦7♥

T♥6♦2♣

9♥2♦4♦

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