What is Monotone in Poker? – Expert Strategies in 2021

What is Monotone in Poker? – Expert Strategies in 2021

Monotone means that a selection of cards is of the same suit. It is most commonly used in Hold’em to describe flop textures. For example, if the flop lands 789 all diamonds, we could refer to the texture as “789 drab.”

Monotone can also be used to describe other scenarios, such as four preflop cards of the same suit in Omaha, or four open cards of the same suit in Stud.

Explanation of Monotone

In Hold’em and Omaha players use the following expressions to describe different types of board textures.

Rainbow – Indicates that every card on the flop is of a different suit.
(Can also be used to describe the turn.)

Two-tone – Indicates that two of the cards on the flop are of the same suit. 
(Can also be used to describe the turn.)

Monotone – Indicates that all of the cards on the flop are of the same suit.
(Can also be used to describe the turn.)

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Ragged – Opposite of “connected”. Implies there is little to no coordination between the cards on the board.  “Rag” is also the term in poker used to describe a low uncoordinated card.

Dry – Similar to ragged. Indicates that there is little in the way of flush or straight connectivity.

Drawy – Indicates that there are a large amount of possible straight draws of flush draws available on the board. 

Paired – Indicates that there is a pair on the board

Example of Monotone used in a sentence -> We saw a flop, it was King-high monotone.

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How to Use Monotone as Part of Your Poker Strategy?

The drab textures of the board mean that any player still involved in the hand may have directly thrown the flush on the flop. Therefore, caution must be exercised regarding stacking ranges. A common leak among Hold’em cash players is stacking too aggressively on drab textures.

Even otherwise strong holdings, such as two pairs and top pairs, lose value significantly in such textures. Being able to accurately measure the relative strength of our possessions in drab textures is, therefore, an important skill in Hold’em.

While many musicians imagine that monotone textures are the most attractive, they are often less dynamic than two-tone textures. Since the flush drawing may have already been completed on drab textures, they often function more like dry boards than drag boards.

How Playing Versus a C-Bet Changes on Monotone Flops

Like last time, Alex begins the video by comparing the average frequencies to play versus a C bet on all flops versus monotonous flops (calculated using a private solver). This table summarizes the comparison of him:

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Flop TypeCall FrequencyCk. Raise Freq.Raise Sizes Used
All Flops441125%, 33%, 50%, 67%, 75%, 100%
Monotone Flops53625%, 33%, 50%

As you can see, the check-magnification frequency is cut almost in half on monotonous boards, and only smaller magnification sizes are used. All this despite the fact that you will tend to face relatively small bet sizes on monotonous flops (which generally makes you more prone to raise, not less).

So the answer to a question posed in the intro is: yes, you should be relatively reluctant to put money in the pot, specifically raising, when faced with a c bet on monotonous flops.

There are two elements to consider that explain why this happens:

  1. How the ranges compare to each other. This was covered extensively in part 1.
  2. Incentives for individual hands. In other words, if each hand prefers to bet/raise/call (raise in this case) based on the ranges it faces.

The first element is still important when facing a c bet, but as already covered in part 1, today’s focus will be on the second element.

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How does this all relate to Monotone boards though?

Monotonous boards are similar to boards where we won’t have a range advantage in the way that we can have as many suited combinations as our opponent will when he calls us.

It will be easier for us and our opponents to get these types of boards, since we can both have a flush draw with only one card of the suit in our hand. We can also have many combinations of two pairs that we will want to bet, as well as strong sets or high pairs.

So how often and how much should we bet?

We can bet on these boards about half the time using our strongest hands to make up a large part of this percentage, in addition to using some of our best semi-bluffs to make up the rest.

In doing so we will want to use a small size as these are boards, we will want to hold very weak stakes with small bets and not allow ourselves to only get big hand action or premium draws with large size.

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What are the odds of a monotone flop?

When the first card comes, it doesn’t matter what the suit is, so 52 out of 52 cards can make a monotone flop. The chance of this happening is 52/52. When the second card comes, it has to match the same suit as the first card. That’s 12 possible cards out of the 51 cards remaining. The chance of this happening is 12/51.

When the third card comes, it has to match the same suit again. That’s 11 possible cards out of the 50 cards remaining. The chance of this happening is 11/50. So to get the chance of all three happening, we can multiply the three together. So we do (52/52) * (12/51) * (11/50) = 0.0518, or about 5.18%.

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