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Backdoor in Texas Hold'em, Omaha, and 7-Stud Poker

Updated on September 20, 2013
The best starting hand in Texas Hold'em
The best starting hand in Texas Hold'em | Source

Flop Window? Back Door? What's with all the home building terms in poker? Well, as you can imagine, everything needs colorful commentary, as it makes a better story. And who doesn't love a bad-beat story? (Everybody hates hearing bad-beat stories, but everyone loves to tell them.)

To understand the back door, I guess you have to know what the front door is, and to be honest, I've never heard anything referred to as the front door, but I'll describe what it could be. In stud poker (either 5 or 7 card), each player gets two down cards, which are referred to as the "Hole Cards", and then one card face up. These first three cards could be part of the front door. As the hand doesn't really develop until at least 5 cards, one would assume that all 5 would really be needed to constitute the front door.

In community card games, such as Texas Hold'em and Omaha, each player has their hole cards, then 3 cards are shown, and they're shared by all players at the table. In most casinos, the dealer will deal the three cards atop one another, then flip over the small stack, thus revealing only the bottom card. This is known as "The Window". The dealer will then spread the cards to reveal the other two. At this point, the player has the 2 in the hole, and the 3 on the "Flop", and this could then be considered the front door.

As more cards are revealed, again be it stud or community, the poker hand for each player will continue to develop. Sometime it's gets better, most times it gets worse. In the case of developing a hand in the "back door", it refers to using the last couple of cards, rather than the first few.

So, for example, in Texas Hold'em, a player has 4c5c in the hole, and the flop comes 6h7hAc. This player now has an outer straight draw, and a back-door-flush draw. The outer draw is enough to keep the player in the hand, but the flush draw is hardly worth giving any credence. The Turn card then deliver the Kc, and now the player has a real flush draw, but it still started as a back door. Finally, on the river, the 9c peels off, and the player is sitting fat with a flush.

This same thing could happen in stud where the last few cards make the hand. Sometime the player is chasing something else, sometime not, but most bad beat stories sound like this...

"...and the guy had absolutely bupkiss, and dainged if he didn't catch a backdoor {insert Made Hand name here.}!"


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