You’re about to learn about one of the most important factors in poker.
Board texture is one of the most important pieces of information in any given hand. The optimal bet sizing, bet frequency, and overall postflop strategy hinges on the specific three cards that come on the flop.
In this article, I will shed some light on how you should adjust your postflop strategy on the most common board textures:
- Rainbow disconnected boards
- Paired boards
- Rainbow connected boards
- Two-tone disconnected boards
- Two-tone connected boards
- Monotone boards
Rainbow disconnected boards
- K♦ 7♥ 3♠
- A♠ 9♣ 4♦
Depending on the exact starting positions, your optimal c-betting strategy on these boards will be on the more aggressive and smaller bet size side of the spectrum, especially when you are in position. This happens because the defender will typically miss with a lot of his hands, and a small bet will put a lot of his range in a tough spot.
As the defender, you will need to call with some weaker than normal holdings, especially when faced with a small bet. You should sometimes call hands such as overcard + backdoor flush draw, or even A-high with an overcard to the mid-card. Your calling strategy all comes down to how big your opponent bets.
Tips for playing rainbow disconnected boards:
1. When you have the initiative in position, c-bet with a merged range for a small size (e.g. bet with hands such as 55 and 88 on K♦ 7♥ 3♠ for 1/3rd of the pot).
2. Widen your check-raising range as a bluff from the big blind, since most players will bet with too many bluffs / won’t know how to defend properly against the raise
- J♠ J♣ 5♥
- 9♣ 9♥ 7♣
Paired boards are uniquely difficult to hit because fewer hand combinations connect with them. For this reason, you should play them similarly to rainbow disconnected boards and c-bet aggressively for a small size.
Rainbow connected boards
- K♠ 9♥ 5♦
- J♣ 9♠ 6♥
Your c-betting strategy on these boards will be once again an aggressive one, but not as much in terms of frequency. Instead, your c-bet strategy will be shaped more in terms of the pressure that you will put on your opponent. You should bet with a larger sizing on average on these boards because there are a lot more hands that have a good amount of equity and you need to force them to pay up to see the turn.
As the defender, these boards play very similarly to the rainbow disconnected ones. Still calling with a lot of marginal hands.
Tips for playing rainbow connected boards:
3. As the aggressor, you should be more careful after your opponent calls and the turn comes a card that completes straights. Use a polarized betting range, looking to mostly check with top pairs and worse made hands.
4. As the defender from the big blind, your bluff check-raises should be more oriented towards hands that can actually hit straights, while adding in a few backdoor straight + backdoor flush draws.
Two-tone disconnected boards
- K♣ 8♣ 3♦
- Q♥ 7♥ 3♣
Given that these boards are not wet, you are generally going to apply a lot of pressure through a high frequency of continuation bets with a small sizing. This puts a lot of pressure on all those hands that missed the flop but have some equity, like hands that have overcards and a backdoor flush draw.
These boards play extremely similar to the rainbow disconnected boards. So you can use the same tips that I gave there.
Two-tone connected boards
- J♠ 8♠ 6♥
- T♦ 7♦ 5♣
Because these boards have a ton of draws possible and the equities run closer, your betting strategy should be polarized. This means that you bet a smaller portion of your range with a larger size, which gives bad pot odds to all those drawing hands.
As the defender, you will rarely face small bets, so you will not need to defend with very weak hands. If anything you may want to play a bit tighter than a solver would suggest, given that most players tend to bluff less and value-bet thinner than they should on these boards.
Tips for playing two-tone connected boards:
5. Check-raise with strong draws such as open-ended straight draws and gutshots that have a backdoor flush draw to go with it.
6. Your value-bets should be very strong, made of hands not weaker than top pair second kicker.
7. Play tighter against raises, since it’s likely that most opponents will under-bluff this spot.
- A♥ T♥ 4♥
- J♠ 6♠ 4♠
This board type can be broken down into multiple sub-textures but the trend in all of them is the same. You have to play a more defensive strategy with a lot of checking involved.
Tips for playing monotone boards:
8. Value-bet with very strong hands such as sets and flushes.
9. Check with all the medium-strength hands.
10. Do not bluff with hands that don’t draw to a strong hand (ex: K♠ 9♠ on A♥ T♥ 4♥).
Board texture is a very complex topic that could be talked about in hundreds of articles once you go into the granular aspects. This article will serve you well as an intro as it contains the general patterns that are observed throughout most boards.
That’s all for now! If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know in the comment section down below and I’ll make sure to answer.
Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!
Note: Want to improve your poker skills and save $50? Take this quick cash game quiz and get a coupon to the Upswing Lab training course just for trying. Start the quiz!