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Backdoor Flush

What is a ‘Backdoor Flush’?

In poker, a ‘backdoor flush’ is an incomplete flush which is waiting for the turn and the river in order to complete. Players must get a suited card to match their hand on both the turn and the river, if they are to make good on their backdoor flush. A hand can contain a ‘backdoor flush’ and other potential hands at the same time – for example, a player with 3♣-5♣ who finds 2♦-6♠-8♣ at the flop is holding a backdoor flush and also an ‘inside straight‘ – a winning hand could be completed with any 4, or two clubs.

‘Backdoor Flush’ Explained

If a poker player says that they hold a ‘backdoor flush’, they mean that they hold three elements of a five-card flush after the flop. The only way to complete the flush is to find the desired suit on both the turn and the river – making this a hard hand to complete, and a big gamble for the player. The term is most associated with hold’em poker where five cards are shared by the table, but it might also be used to describe a stud hand. It might be heard in draw games where the player holds three suited cards at the deal and needs two more from the draw, but this usage is less common.

The backdoor flush might appear on its own, or with another potential hand. Players are less likely to play a hand which relies solely on a backdoor flush, but they might risk it if they also hold cards leading to a straight or a high pair. If the player’s backdoor flush is made from two cards at the table and one from their hand, there is always a risk that another player is aiming for the same complete flush. A backdoor flush made from two in the hand and one at the table is a stronger hand for the player.

Want to get good at poker? Read our guide.