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Straight Draws

Lördag 21 November, Harrison Jones

playing cards

Straight Draws

A straight draw is possibly the hardest hand to play in poker and the majority of players massively overplay a straight draw, yes it can make a monster hand and win you big pots but it can also lose you a lot of chips. In reality if you flop a straight draw you have six outs (cards that you can hit to make a winning hand), the basic odds of hitting these is around 30% depending on how many people are at your table.

Considerations

The biggest thing to take into consideration when holding a straight draw is how much it is how big your chip stack is, how big the blinds are, how the other players have been playing and how much you’re willing to gamble. The other variable would be whether you are playing a cash game or a tournament or a sit and go.

Tournament Play/Sit and Go Play

In a single table sit and go a straight draw can be a magical hand in a multi way pot, real potential to make a lot of chips particularly while the blinds are low at the beginning of a tournament. All the pro books will say play tight early on, but chase your draws when blinds are low and you have the opportunity to make monster hands with minimal outlay. Later on in tournaments with high blinds compared to stack size it’s best to take the small ball approach and check your draw or call a small bet, do not go broke late on chasing a silly draw. If you are the chip leader however and you have your opponents massively out chipped then be aggressive with your draws, bet out on the flop, and move the smaller stacks all in if they bet, it is like a semi bluff because then the decision is on them and if you get called you still have ‘live’ outs.

Cash Games

Cash games are a different animal entirely; playing a straight draw in a cash game is more about making a read on your opponent on how they have been playing and how much gamble you have in you. In a cash game you have to keep in mind that the blinds never change and that stack size makes no difference, you are not aiming to eliminate opponents you are aiming to make as much money as possible. This is the biggest trap people fall into in cash games, when they buy in with the maximum and play overly aggressive against supposed shorter stacks because they do not know how to change their game; these are the players you want to draw against, they will bet most flops and scare off most opponents. In this situation play small ball, just flat call and see another card, if you hit you will almost certainly double your money because of their aggression. Just remember to watch your opponents before making a decision on whether to gamble or not.

Key rules

Pay attention to your opponents and watch how they are playing, keep in mind your stack size in tournaments and don’t go broke chasing a draw with one card to come when you can still fold and make a comeback. If you are prepared to gamble with straight draws, do it when you know the risk is worth the reward; do not shove 1500 chips into a 250 pot just because you have a draw. And always remember an open ended straight only hits 30% of the time, and the odds are even less for an inside straight draw.