Explanation of Play the Board

In situations where the nuts appears on the board texture, players have no choice but to play the board in Hold’em. For example;

Board: T♥J♥Q♠K♦A♣

Since no flush is possible, the broadway straight (Ten to Ace) constitutes the nuts. Of course, any player involved in the hand makes the straight because it is available using purely the community cards. (In Hold’em it is not necessary to use any of our hole-cards when constructing our final 5-card hand). Scenarios where we are forced to play the board do not exist in variants such as Omaha because players must use exactly two of their hole cards when constructing their final 5-card hand.

In scenarios where we have completely missed the board, making plays purely based on the board texture can also be referred to as “playing the board”.

Example of Play the Board used in a sentence -> When using community cards to play the board, it is impossible to win at showdown, only ever to chop.

How to Use Play the Board as Part of Your Poker Strategy

Imagine the following board texture in Hold’em

Board: 7♥8♣9♠T♦J♥

Clearly any player involved in the hand has made at least the J-high straight, but the J-high straight is not the absolute nuts on this texture. Any player with a Queen makes a Q-high straight, while a player with QK makes the K-high straight. 

Sometimes players may elect to “bluffcatch with board” in these scenarios when their opponent bets. Although they can never expect to win the pot outright, they will chop the pot in the case that their opponent is bluffing. Having a selection of bluffs on such textures often makes sense. Even if our bluff fails, we can potentially still win half of the pot.

See Also 

Board, Hold’em, Omaha, Bluffcatch, Bluff, Straight, Hand Rankings

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