Playing the Big Draw

I was asked about playing a draw and when is it right to chase a draw. The question is very open-ended and I will explain as clearly as I can. My immediate answer is to give back more questions; you have not told me enough to provide you a good answer. With no further clarification here we go.

When is it appropriate to call with a draw? Anytime the pot is offering you pot odds to make the call. The explanation of pot odds requires that you know how many outs you have.

Correctly counting and valuing your outs is a subject I could write an entire article on and many people have. Most basic books cover this subject. If you are drawing you need to know how many cards can help your hand. On the flop you know where exactly five cards are; your two hole cards and the three board cards. The remainder of the deck (47 cards) remains unknown. If there is only one card that will help your hand you have 46 that will not help and thus you need to be getting 46 times the price of the bet to make the call. Notice I did not say the pot had to be that large as there are times when bonuses for hands like quads or a straight flush or even a high hand of the night could factor into this calculation making it a good call. These are the basics of pot odds and a little reminder to think outside the box when calculating pot odds.

In limit hold’em the game is structured to make it a drawing game and it is often correct to call with a fairly weak draw. The weakest of the draws that people often overlook is the gut shot straight draw. On a rainbow flop you probably have four outs to make your gut shot. An important concept to remember here is that you want to be drawing to the nut straight. I find the draw that players often overlook is when playing AKs and the flop is JT6 all different suits with the six being in your suit. This hand 43:4 or slightly less than 11 to 1. This hand has more upside than downside. I like the two over cards in a limit game because they may provide additional outs for your hand. The backdoor flush draw will offset the possibility that you make your straight and the board makes a backdoor flush possible. You have one of the three suits but there is no guarantee the other two backdoor flush draws would stay and draw that light. Some players fear that the board could make the straight with a queen on the turn and the board pair on the river. This is a possibility and could hurt you if you are up against a set. My feeling is that the play of the hand will tell you how strong your opponents are and in a limit game if somebody re-sucks out on you it is not a disaster. On the flop I have often called with this hand getting pot odds of five or six to one. A $30 call in a multi-way pot with a pot of $180 and I am in there. The turn card could be any ace, king, heart or queen to keep me in the hand. Limit is the easier of the two games.

In no-limit the game is more power poker and use of chips to win pots. Drawing is usually the road to ruin. I will try to help you avoid going broke with big draws and learn to avoid most draws. The AKs hand above could be an easy fold in no-limit. I am not interested in 19 cards in a no-limit game, I want to see one of the four queens and I do not want to pay much for the draw. The problem being that if a queen comes your opponent is probably done with his hand and will not pay you off. The draw in no-limit is generally the flush draw with some additional outs. The open ended straight flush draw is generally over valued because the nut flush draw crushes your smaller flush when you do not get the exact right card. Using AKs again the flop being JsTs6d is a very good flop. This hand has 12 outs with some over card value. The problem being that you can make it too obvious that you are drawing and your opponent will price you out of the hand on the turn. I would teach you to play this hand very strong and bet pot-sized on the flop and if you are raised be comfortable re-raising and if you have to put your chips in the middle with this hand and two cards to come that is just fine. You are an underdog to a set and in a race with pocket aces. Your aggressive play will take down the pot a large percentage of the time and when you run into a big hand you are a 2:1 underdog and most times it is impossible to fold because the pot is laying you the right price. Play your big draws aggressively in no-limit and you will have more success. If a queen or a spade comes your opponent will not pay you off so playing slow and drawing cheap is just asking to pay and never get paid off.

If you have specific questions about a particular hand and can give me a few more details I am more than happy to share my ideas with you.

Tags: ,

One Response to “Playing the Big Draw”

  1. Marty Smyth Says:

    great share mate,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: