Chasing a flush online – Sometimes the numbers just don't add up!
There's an age old debate in poker - should you chase a flush? First of all we need to define what we mean here by "chasing a flush online".
Chasing anything in Texas Holdem poker is the practice of betting to stay in a hand in the hope that you will make a better hand, even although you might have absolutely nothing at the time.
So chasing a flush means betting that you will get the card or card that you need to complete your flush hand on the turn or river. You can't chase a flush before the flop because at that time you only have two cards so the flush isn't on.
So let's say you're playing one of the big poker sites online, you've been dealt the Ace and 9 of spades and you've paid to see the flop.
The flop is 2s 7s Kd and one of your opponents comes out betting strongly with a fair sized raise, what do you do?
First of all ask yourself what kind of hand you're up against. The possibilities are triples, another flush draw, a pair of Kings or a complete bluff, so as it stands you're only winning against the bluff with your Ace. On the other hand if you hit a spade in the last two cards you have the nut flush and could only lose to a full house or four of a kind.
On the face of it you might assume that statistically you have about a 50-50 chance of hitting your spade, after all there's two cards to come and four suits so there must be about a half chance, right?
You already have two of the spades in your hand and there's another two showing on the table, so you know five cards and four of them are spades. That means you have nine spades left available out of the 47 cards you haven't seen, which is only a 42% chance of catching your flush.
If you do bet on the turn and don’t make your flush, what do you do then? You have probably now become pot-committed, you have put so much into the pot that you might as well bet again on the river unless there’s a big raise or all-in against you, but now your chances of making the flush have dropped dramatically to only 21%.
But what of that other factor, the mysterious internet poker syndrome? What I mean by that is although you statistically have a 42% chance of making a flush, is that what actually happens in reality? If you played the same hand at the same online poker table 100 times would you get a flush 42 times? From my personal experience I doubt it. Flushes seem to come around a lot less often than 42 out of 100 times!
That’s just my own opinion and I’m sure the poker sites would tell you a different story, but the way I see it is 42% is the very BEST you’re ever going to get and you may well have a lot less chance than that of hitting your flush.
Bottom line? Chasing a flush online is a very risky strategy that sucks you in and over commits you, without giving you enough of a chance of pulling out the winning hand.
Article by Ian McIntosh, get regular free poker articles to use for your site at Love-Texas-Holdem.com as well all the latest information on Texas Holdem tournaments and freerolls. Please feel free to use this poker article on your website, newsletter or blog as long as this resource box is left intact and there's a live link to the site.