Backdoor Poker Definition

Backdoor Straight - Backdoor Flush

by Jesse Knight


Backdoor - Hitting a perfect turn and river card to make a drawing hand.

A back door draw is a draw that will take two cards to complete the hand. For example, if you are playing Texas Holdem and you have 77 on a board of J64 against your opponents JJ (set of jacks), you would need to hit a backdoor hand in order to beat him. You could either hit two running sevens in order to make a full house, or you could hit two running straight cards such as a 3 and 5 to give you the seven high straight. In the photo to the right, one player has AT to give him top pair, top kicker. His opponent has JT giving him top pair with a backdoor flush draw. The turn and the river were both hearts completing his hand and giving him the backdoor flush to beat his opponent.

The odds of making your hand if you are drawing to a backdoor depends on the amount of outs you have. Somebody who is drawing to a backdoor low hand in Omaha Hi/Low would have a much better chance of hitting his hand than a person who needs to hit runner runner quads. The person who needs to hit the quads would need two perfect cards in order to make their hand and the odds of that are slim.

Some odds of hitting backdoor draws are as follows: Imagine that you are playing Texas Hold’em and you are dealt Ah Kh and the flop is Qd 9h Ks. You are holding three to a straight (Ah Kh Qd) and three to a flush (Ah Kh 9h). You also have a pair of kings. While your hand is fairly strong as it is (top pair, top kicker) you also have several back door draws (flush, straight and full house). A single back door draw is often not strong enough to take on its own merits, however backdoor draws do affect pot odds and should be taken into account. Try the following exercise:

In the Hold’em scenario listed above what is the likelihood you will make a back door…

1. Flush?
2. Straight?

1. Flush – There are 52 cards in the deck, of which 13 are hearts. Five cards are known to you, of which three are hearts, leaving 47 unknown cards of which 10 are hearts. In order to make a flush, you need both of the next two cards to be hearts. You have a 10/47 chance of catching a heart on the turn. If you make it you will have a 9/46 chance of catching a heart on the river.

(10/47)(9/46)=90/2162 which reduces to approximately 0.0416

You will make a flush about 4.16% of the time.

2. Straight – Of the 47 unknown cards, 4 are jacks and 4 are tens. In order to make a back door straight, you must catch a jack and a ten. You have an 8/47 chance to catch either a jack or a ten on the turn. If you catch either, you will have a 4/46 chance of catching the other card you need on the river.

(8/47)(4/46)=32/2162 which reduces to approximately 0.0148
You will make a straight about 1.48% of the time

The full house calculation requires a more complex equation, so we will not cover it here, but your odds of making it is about 2%.

Hitting a backdoor draw is great when you are on the winning side of things, but it's a huge drag when you are on the losing side of things. If you stay in a poker room long enough, you will hear more than your fair share of bad beat stories regarding backdoor draws.

Previous Poker Term: Ante
Next Poker Term: Backer


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