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  • October 1, 2020

What does the term “rainbow” mean in the game of poker?

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The term rainbow can be used to describe any run of unsuited cards. It is most frequently used to describe a flop which contains three different suits. Because a flop is composed of exactly three cards, there are three distinct possibilities for suit alignment. Each of these different suit alignments can have an impact on each player’s hand strength. This, in turn, affects strategy and the play of the hand.
People Who Love Rainbow Flops
* Someone who flops top pair
* Someone who flops a set
* Someone who is all-in pre-flop against another player who has hole cards of the same rank, yet suited
People Who Hate Rainbow Flops
* Someone who flops a full house
* Someone with suited hole cards
The probability of a rainbow flop is quite high compared to most other poker probabilities: 40%. If you have suited hole cards that match one of the suits on the flop, you will need to hit two running cards of that suit to make a flush. The chances of hitting that backdoor flush are 4.2%.
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The first suit alignment possibility is that you have a suited flop. This means that all three cards are of the same suit. This is the rarest of the three types, and when it appears, the strategic implications are significant. The most obvious impact of a suited flop is that a flush is now possible for anyone holding two hole cards of the same suit. A completed flush is a strong hand, which means that anyone choosing to continue in the face of strong action should have a legitimate draw to suck out. Had the flop not been suited, it would likely be easier for the field to draw. In other words, the field of players has to respect the power on the board.
This makes it easier to bluff or bet position with a suited flop, provided that no one holds the completed flush. These are just a few of the strategic implications of having a suited flop.
The second suit alignment possibility is that you have a flop which contains two suited cards along with one card of a different suit. This means that while no flush can be completed yet, there is the possibility for a flush draw to be present. Flush draws, while not as powerful as completed flushes, can be strong hands on the flop, especially the nut flush draw. Flush draw flops often lead to more aggressive flop betting than other flop types. This is because it is often correct for a player who is holding a flush draw to raise or reraise on the flop. Suited and flush draw flops also present a danger for players who have made hands weaker than a flush, like a straight, a set, or two pair. This sometimes leads to more aggressive betting , as the made hands try to force out the weaker draws.
The third possibility for suit alignment is a rainbow flop. This is a flop which contains three different suits. A rainbow flop is ideal for weaker made hands, like top pair, especially if the flop cards are also not paired or consecutive. If you flop a straight or a set, you are in a much strong position with a rainbow flop than you would be with either a suited flop or a flush draw flop. These are just a few examples of the strategic implications of suit alignment on the flop.
 
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