Reading Board Texture in Holdem

Understanding board textures in Texas Holdem is a very important part of becoming a better poker player. Many players only look at their own cards in relation to the cards are on the board, failing to understand that they need to consider what their opponents may hold.

Being able to distinguish a good and bad board are key elements to making better decisions in poker. You must also learn to take what cards are out and compare them to what other players may hold in their hand.

What is Board Texture?

Board texture is a term used to describe what type of flop, or cards are dealt out in Holdem. An example of a board would be- 4-5-8 on the flop of a Texas Holdem game. The board will be all cards dealt out, not just the flop. So, if there is a turn and river card dealt out, this would be part of the board.

The board texture is what type of board is dealt out. If there are draws or some high cards that could connect to other players’ hands, it could be called a wet or dangerous board.

On the other hand, if the board looks relatively harmless with a bunch of non-connecting cards and no flush draws such as: 2-9-Jack all different suits, this board could be called a dry board.

There are many factors that go into determining what is considered a dry or wet board. However, this article will help you to distinguish between the two and how to use this information to your advantage.

Wet Boards

A wet board is one that contains cards that can make draws, connect with an opponent’s hand and overall pretty scary.

Say you hold a hand such as pocket 8’s. The flop comes- King, Queen, Jack. This type of board is very wet as it contains a straight draw and cards that are likely to hit someone else’s hand. Based on your hand strength, this type of board is one of the worse for a hand such as pocket 8’s.

Dry Boards

A dry board will be less scary and will not contain cards that will likely connect to your opponents’. Let’s assume you have the same pocket 8’s, only this time the flop comes- 2-4-9. While there is still one over card to your 8’s, this board is pretty much harmless and should not generally hit one of your opponent’s cards.

How to Use Board Texture

Now that you know what is considered a good and bad type of board based on what you hold, how do you use this information to your advantage?
There are many ways to take make better decisions based on reading board texture. The first thing to understand is; what type of boards is best to bluff or bet at.

On dry boards, you can get away with a lot more bluffing and steal a lot of pots. If the board is a bunch of low, un-suited cards, you can potentially bluff at a higher frequency and get away with most of the time.

You have to understand that some players will recognize that a particular board may be a good one to bluff at and won’t let you get away with it all the time. This can be a bit more advanced, but you can bluff the turn as well if you think your opponent is smart enough to understand that the board is a good one to bluff at.

This type of thinking will take time and practice, but once you understand and recognize what type of players you are facing, you can better determine what they may be doing.

Another part of understanding board texture is to understand what type of card that can be dealt next will change the type of board. If the flop is harmless, you can expect that a high card or one that makes a straight or flush draw appear on the turn could be good or bad for you.

If you bluff on the flop and get called, you can expect that your opponent won’t have much of a hand a large portion of the time. They will likely be calling since the board is not very dangerous. However, there are many cards that can come on the turn that will change the outlook of the hand.

Let’s assume you raised in early position and got called by a player on the button. You bluff at a harmless flop of; 2-5-9. You hold KQ in your hand and hit no piece of this board. The turn card brings the Ace of Diamonds. This is a very good card for you. Although it does not connect with your hand, it can be perceived as being good for you. Since you raised in early position, you are more likely to have an Ace since most players raise with Aces form early position. The Ace is a scare card for your opponent and can be an excellent card to bluff.

To be good at reading board texture, you have to take into account all factors of the hand. Where the players position is at the table, where they raised from, their style of play and so on. This may take some time, but once you learn how to do it well, your game will jump to the next level.