When you flop the nut flush deep fast playing can be the most deceptive line (concept revisited)
One of the first articles that I ever wrote for CardPlayer came from early 2012 and it had to do with playing a flopped nut flush fast in order to maximize your value. Although this spot does not come up all that often it continues to be one of the most misplayed situations that I observe in No Limit cash games.
There are number of reasons why fast playing the nut flush is a sound approach. Firstly, people tend to not mess around on monotone boards. I have discussed in previous articles how monotone boards can actually be good continuation bet bluffing boards because usually people do not call light. On a board like J♠ 8♠ 5♠ you usually will not see a player peel with a hand like 8♥ 7♥ whereas on a two flush or rainbow board you will often times see a player continue on with second pair especially if the flop gets checked through. So checking a made strong hand on a monotone board really does not get you anywhere. This may seem a bit counterintuitive as I am saying that players will fold second pair if you bet but in reality you are not going to get any more action out of them if you check. We are trying to value target strong hands like two pair, sets, top pair and draws and other flopped flushes.
Secondly, and usually most importantly, whenever you suddenly wake up later on in a hand, whether that be on the turn or on the river, anyone with a non-nut holding on a monotone board instantly goes into a check-call shell and you may very well lose a ton of value. Let us take a look at a hand that I witnessed at the $5-10NL game at the Commerce Casino last week. Effective stacks were about $2300 and the under the gun raised to $40. Two people in the field called, as did the button. The flop came out T♥ 5♥ 9♥. The preflop raiser bet out $90, both players in the middle folded and the button called. The turn brought the 2♣ and the preflop rasier bet $200. Once again the button called. The river was the J♠ and the under the gun now bet $400. Almost immediately the button raised to $875, which was quickly called by the preflop rasier. The hands were turned over and the button showed A♥ J♥ versus the under the gun’s K♥ Q♥.
This situation was an absolute catastrophe for the button. He flopped the nuts over the second nuts and did not get all of the money in. His call-call raise the river line appeared so strong that the preflop raiser only called scared of the nut flush.
Now what if the button had instead raised the turn? Still many players would still only call with the second nut flush and fall into a check-call shell. If however, he had fast played the flop and raised the pre flop raiser’s bet he certainly would have been able to get all the money in and a lot of times would have faced a reraise from the out of position player. I have been observing and playing no limit for almost ten years and it never ceases to amaze me how frequent this type of thing happens, even with experienced players.
Of course there is a third reason not to slowplay the nut flush because action-killing cards can come out such as a fourth suit or the board pairing. But the simple fact of the matter is that you are only really going to win a big pot on a monotone board when someone has a big hand along with you and the best way to play your hand the most deceptively and to guarantee that you get all of the money is by playing the hand fast, end of story.