Board Texture

Board texture refers to how the cards on the board do or do not connect with each other. We'll look at different board textures and how to play them.

In poker, board texture refers to how the cards on the board do, or do not, connect with each other. We'll be covering different types of board textures and how you should be playing them. A texas hold'em board texture is a valuable piece of information and should influence your playing strategy, even more so as a beginner.

Poker Board Textures

Board texture is a short-hand way of describing how well the community cards connect with each other. This term is only used in poker variants that have a flop, turn, and river, such as Hold'em, Omaha, and 6+.

Two terms that you'll hear a lot when people discuss board texture are "static" and "dynamic", or "disconnected" and "connected". These different terms describe how likely it is that a good hand on the flop will stay a good hand on the turn or river, with static more likely and dynamic being less likely.

For example, a board like K22 is considered a static board as a hand like KQ is very likely to stay the best by the river. There are no immediate flushes or straights to worry about and there is only one over-card that can come by the river.

On the other hand, a board like 87Q is considered a dynamic board. There are lots of straight draws on this board as well as a possible flush draw, so the chances of KQ staying the best hand by the river are a lot slimmer than in our first example.

Wet & Dry Boards

No, this isn't referring to how much beer the drunk guy in seat 7 has spilled on the flop, "wet" and "dry" are loose synonyms of "dynamic" and "static".

A poker table with four cards on it

Wet Board

A "wet" board is similar to a dynamic board in that a hand such as top pair on the flop is unlikely to stay the best hand on the river. Where they differ is that "wet" as an adjective is used a lot more loosely than dynamic and is often used to describe any board that has a flush draw and some connectivity.

There are varying degrees of wet boards; a board such as K95 would be considered somewhat wet as there are a couple of straight draws as well as a flush draw, whereas a board such as 56T would be considered "sopping wet" as there are a lot of straight draws and a possible flush draw.

How you should play wet board textures will depend a lot on your stack size. The shorter stacked you are, the more you should try and get as much money in as possible with your strong, but vulnerable hands like top pair good kicker. This is because you're likely to get the money in good, and you won't have to worry about missing value on scary turn cards.

The deeper you are, such as in a cash game, the more cautiously you should play your strong but vulnerable hands.

This is because with deep stacks your opponents will often be getting the right implied odds to call and try and hit their hand, even if they're not getting the right immediate odds. Even if you manage to get the money in on the flop, the best-case scenario is that your opponent has a strong draw and even that has 40% equity against most hands.

Dry Board

A "dry" board is similar to a static board in that the best hand on the flop is unlikely to change by the river. As I'm sure you could guess from their names, a dry board is the opposite of a wet board and is used when there isn't much connectivity between the cards. When the cards don't share much connectivity, it means that hands that are best on the flop are often the best hands by the river.

For example, if you have a flop of A22 and a hand like AK, it's likely to be the best hand on the flop as you have top pair top kicker and your opponent will not have many outs to improve against it. They either have a worse ace, in which case they have 3 outs to make a better two pair, a pocket pair where they have two outs to make a boat or a straight draw where they have four outs to make a straight.

Compare this to a wet board of A98, your opponent can have a multitude of flush draws and straight draws that have a lot more outs to improve by the river against your AK.

When you're playing a dry board, it's important to realize how strong your hand is and how likely your opponent is to improve. In the scenario where we have AK on A22, we don't need to be very worried about our opponent improving to a better hand. Therefore, we don't need to bet a large amount to protect our hand, we can bet small and keep in our opponent's worse hands.

On dry boards, you'll find that you get a lot of folds, even when you bet small. This is because the more disconnected a board is, the harder it is for your opponent to have a hand that can continue against a bet. This is another reason why we want to bet smaller on dry boards, even with our bluffs, as they're still likely to get our opponent to fold the majority of the time.

Types of Poker Board Textures

The type of board texture should change the way you play the hand, both as the preflop raiser and preflop caller.

Flush Boards

Flops where every card is the same suit (also called a monotone board), are the least likely board you'll see and are also the hardest to play. In the majority of cases, the range advantage goes to the preflop caller, as they'll have a higher proportion of suited hands in their calling range than the preflop aggressor does in their raising range.

This means that if you're the preflop raiser you'll need to approach these boards with caution. Large bet sizes are not advised unless you have a strong player read, with solvers advocating for bet sizes as small as 20% on monotone flops.

The best hands to want to bet with are hands that contain a suit that matches the board as you have a lot of backup equity in case your opponent calls. Hands like top pair/second pair become hard to play because if a fourth card of the suit hits the turn, they become a lot weaker. It's best to play a lot of your hands cautiously and check to the preflop caller and if you do decide to c-bet, make it a small sizing.

If you're the preflop caller you can exploit the fact that these boards should be better for you than the preflop raiser. In my experience, a lot of players will over c-bet these boards, regardless of the fact they should have quite a low c-bet percentage. This means we can raise a lot more often expecting a lot of folds, and also float the flop with the plan to take it away on the turn when your opponent slows down.

Paired Boards

Boards that are paired are often considered to be dry boards due to the limited possibilities for straight draws. However, there is a big difference between an A66 flop and a 998 flop. In the first example, there are no straight possibilities and no flush draw and in the second example, there are multiple straight draw possibilities as well as a flush draw.

This means that you should pay close attention to how connected the board is before making your decision. The dryer the board is, the more often you'll want to bet as the preflop aggressor and the smaller your bet size should be - even your value bets. On dry paired boards in particular it's harder for your opponents to have hands that can continue against a bet, so a small bet will work very well.

The more connected a board is, the more you want to polarize your range and use a larger sizing when you do bet. This is because on boards like these your opponents have more hands that can call against a bet, so betting small with a hand that has no equity won't be very profitable. Therefore we want to bet bigger with our strongest hands and our weakest hands and check with our middling hands.

Rainbow Disconnected Boards

A rainbow disconnected board is considered the driest board you can come across in poker. These boards have no immediate flush draw and have little to no straight draw possibilities. A good example of such a board is J62. There is no possible flush draw and very few straight draws - even the straight draws that are there require hands that won't often be played.

These kinds of boards are often very good for the preflop aggressor, especially in heads-up pots, as the over-pairs in their range retain a strong advantage (i.e. they're very unlikely to be out-flopped by two pair/straight/flush). This means that these boards should be played very aggressively if you were the last aggressor preflop, betting with the majority if not all of your range and for a small sizing.

If you're the preflop caller and are facing one of these boards, you're going to have a hard time defending properly against bets. In order not to overfold against small bets, you need to be floating hands that you would think you should fold. With the advancement of solver technology thanks to companies like Piosolver, we can now see that hands such as KQ should be defending against a bet on a J62 board. Bear in mind that we should only defend these hands against a small bet, if your opponent uses a large sizing you do not need to defend as wide of a range.

Rainbow Connected Boards

These kinds of boards are the middle ground between wet and dry boards. They don't have a flush draw, but have lots of straight/two pair possibilities, meaning that they're not quite considered wet but not considered dry either. The main factor that should shape how you play rainbow connected boards is exactly how high the card ranks are.

A board of 543, whilst being a rainbow connected board, is a lot less scary than JT9 or 78T. This is because most players won't play as many combos of the lower cards as the higher ones. This means that there are fewer combinations of straight draws and fewer combinations of two pair in your opponent's range. For example, you can expect a lot more people to play JTo than 76o.

It's important on these boards to count the combos of hands your opponent will likely play and factor that into whether you think the board is wetter or drier. On the 543 flop, your opponent is unlikely to play hands like 54o, 43o, or even 62s, which limits the number of good hands they can have. However, on the JT9 flop, you can expect your opponent to have a lot more combos of JT, J9, T9, 98, etc. which means they have a lot more hands that can call a bet.

These boards should be played particularly cautiously multiway as there's an even higher probability one of your opponents has made a strong hand.

Two-Tone Flop

Two-tone flops can vary greatly depending on how connected the board is. For example, a flop such as K77 should be played a lot different from a flop of 98J. In the first situation the board can almost be considered dry as aside from the flush draw, there is very little there for our opponent to call with if we bet. Whereas in the second situation, not only is there a flush draw but there are multiple straight draws and two pair combinations that your opponent can have.

You should always be mindful that on a two-tone board, a good portion of your opponent's calling range is going to be flush draws which means that we need to play very cautiously on flush completing turns and rivers. When the flush completes from a two-tone board, a lot of the hands that were previously very strong become middling strength at best - hands like two pair and top pair good kicker suffer the most.

Depending on how connected the board is, we want to play quite aggressively on two-tone boards. The dryer the board is, the more often we can bet, and the smaller sizing we can use and the more connected the board is, the more polarized we want to make our betting range - including some larger pot-sized bets.

Different types of board texture you'll encounter playing poker
Different types of board textures you'll encounter playing poker.

Poker Board Texture: FAQ

We've collected and answered the most common questions about board texture in poker:

What is the board texture in poker?

Board texture in poker is a way of describing how well the community cards interact with each other to create possible draws.

How are wet boards different from dry boards?

Wet boards have a lot of potential for straight and flush draws, meaning that strong hands like top pair or two pair on the flop are unlikely to be the best hand by the river. On the other hand, dry boards don't have the potential for straights and flushes so strong hands on the flop tend to stay strong hands by the river.

Are rainbow disconnected boards the same as connected boards?

These two types of boards are complete opposites. A rainbow, disconnected board is a board that doesn't have a flush draw and has limited to no possibility for straight draws. On the other hand, a connected board will often have a flush draw as well as possibilities for straight draws.

How should I play a two-tone flop?

How you play a two-tone flop will depend on a lot of factors, there are no easy solutions to playing certain kinds of flops. Instead, think about your range vs your opponent's range and how they interact with the board, then think about the strength of your hand against your opponent's range and whether or not it performs better as a bet or a check.

Is it a good idea to play on a flush board even if I did not flop the flush?

Monotone or 3-flush boards are often better for the preflop caller due to the higher proportion of suited hands in their range. This means that as the preflop aggressor we should play cautiously and do a lot of checking. 

How can reading the board texture help me in poker?

Reading the board texture can help you in poker as it helps you decide what your strategy should be, based on how connected the board is and how well your opponent's range connects with it.

When playing either as the preflop aggressor or preflop caller, the specific board texture should be a major factor in how you choose to play the hand.