Reading the board is as important as your poker strategies

Reading the board in addition to knowing what possible hands can be formed is imperative. The first step toward learning about reading the board is spotting the nuts. The best probable hand is called nuts. When you have the nuts, there is no chance for you to lose. But an exception would be the nuts during a flop since it can become a losing hand when you reach the river. Since your hole cards are revealed, there will be times when you will get nuts even with the board. Another factor to consider when reading the board is the amount of possibility that there are better hands possible.

Let's first make a straight flush as an example. This hand is only possible when there are three same-suited cards that have values close enough to form a straight. For instance, a jack, a ten and a nine of hearts can form a straight flush for any player holding a queen and king of hearts. Moreover, a 69T forms a straight in any player that has a 78.

In the case of four of the same kind, a pair is needed on the board. When someone has that pair, they have a four of the same kind. When trips are available, then only one more card of the same value is needed. For instance, if the board has a 33, a hole card of 33 will form four of a kind. If the board has a 333, any hole card of 3X like 73 will make a four of a kind.

In a full house, you also need a pair to be available on the board. Like when there's a 337 on the flop, a hole card of 37 or 77 would form a full house. But between the 37 and 77, 77 is more preferable. In this example, the nuts is 33, the second nuts is 77 and the third is 73.

Three cards of similar suit are needed in the case of a flush. Once that's on the board, any person who has 2 cards of that suit can form a flush.

With regards to a straight, cards of close value are needed. In general, a straight is possible on rivers if the board has no pair. A river such as KQ268 does not have any chance for a straight.

In instances where a player has four cards to the straight or flush, he is classified to have a straight draw or a flush draw, meaning an additional card is needed to form the hands. A draw of a runner-runner happens when more than one card is needed. But there is very little chance for a runner-runner so it's better to just not think about it to avoid bad plays.