Poker Cash Games: How To Play Nut Flush Draws

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Pair of aces
BetMGM Dec 04, 2023, 2:10 AM

A “nut” in poker, whether in online poker or in brick-and-mortar games, refers to the best possible hand or a situation where a player holds the highest-ranking hand at a given moment at the table. 

A flush hand is a good hand to have, but one that is often overvalued. While the flush draw can be strong, it is sometimes underplayed. 

Read on to find out how best to handle nut flush draws as part of your poker strategy. 

What Is a Nut Flush?

What is a nut flush in poker? If you’re new to the game, you might be wondering what a flush is. Simply put, it is a five-card poker hand where each card is from the same suit. A hand of A, K, 9, 6, 2, where all five cards are diamonds, for example, would be an ace-high flush. 

If multiple players hold a flush, the highest individual card breaks the tie. So, the above example would beat a hand of Q, J, 9, 6, 2 since an ace-high flush beats a queen-high flush.

This would make the ace-high flush the “nut flush.”

Strategies for Effectively Handling Nut Flush Draws

When it comes to playing in position, you have a distinct advantage with a nut flush draw. Below are the best ways to play both in position as well as out-of-position with a nut flush in poker.

In Position As the Player Who Called Pre-Flop

In addition to getting to act with the most information of any player, you also get the last say regarding the size of the pot.

This is a major advantage when it comes to how much equity you will gain. For example, should you miss your draw, you can check back on the river and potentially win if your opponent has a missed hand himself.

Because of this, there is more incentive to call (rather than raise) with nut flush draws when you are in position. That’s not to say you should never raise them, but leaning toward calling is usually the best approach.

Out of Position As the Player Who Called Pre-Flop

Playing out of position is a different story. You don’t have the option to check to see the next card or showdown. If you miss your draw, your opponent can often bluff you off of your hand. 

Because of your reduced ability to reach showdown, you have more incentive to check-raise nut flush draws when out of position. 

When To Be Aggressive and When To Be Cautious

A common mistake among weaker poker players is underplaying their strong flush draws. It’s always advisable to mix in some bets and raises with a flush draw on the flop, anyway. Problems arise when someone plays back and puts you in a tough spot.

The way to handle this is to break your flush draws into two categories — strong and weak. Nut flush draws, king-high draws, and those with two overcards to the board are your stronger hands. Any other kind of draw is considered weak.

Make sure you’re betting and raising much more often with the strong category of flush draw than with the weak category. That way, if someone fights back, you’ll have more confidence to play on. 

How Often Does the Nut Flush Draw Hit in Poker?

Looking at the table dynamics, while heading from flop to turn, a flush draw or poker nut flush draw is expected to hit 19.1% of the time or +424. While heading back from the turn to the river, a flush draw is expected to go high at around 19.6%, or +410. 

This slight increase might be attributed to there being one less card in the deck, increasing the percentage of a flush-completing card. Heading toward the flop to the river, a flush is expected to draw 35% of the time or +​​186.

Good Implied Odds for Flush Draws: Stack Size

In cash poker games, the more money there is in your opponent’s stack, the more money you can potentially earn if your flush draw completes. However, you should look at your opponent’s stack relative to the pot. 

In other words, you need to consider the stack-to-pot ratio (SPR). This is simply the ratio of the effective stack size and the size of the pot and it indicates your level of commitment to the pot. 

If the SPR is very small (three or fewer), you are automatically committed to the pot with a top pair hand or a stronger hand, and you should be willing to play for the rest of your stack. You are also committed to the pot if you have a strong drawing hand, like a flush draw, especially if you are drawing to the nuts.

Practice Your Nut Flush Strategy With BetMGM

If you can memorize these strategies and put them into practice, you could find yourself winning higher on average at the poker table with your nut flush draws. Register with BetMGM for online poker and even poker tournaments, as well as a wide selection of online casino games.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.