Playing Draws


The fine art of playing draws is a very important aspect of playing poker and even highly experienced poker players face trouble while dealing with it. In a poker career, one may come across bad players who make draws against odds and sometimes hit that elusive miracle card. It is also possible, at the same time, that one may face trouble doing the same to opponents. It is pertinent for a player to play a draw with odds in his favor and compel his opponent to go against odds to play his draw. It is easier to manipulate the odds in no-limit play and it is pertinent that a player tries to master the art of no-limit cash games as he is likely to make more money in a very short period of time.

To draw at flushes and straights is a common strategy used by experienced players. In this scenario, if a player lets his opponents do this cheaply, they will use each and every opportunity. If the player lets his opponent stay with his draws for cheap, the opponent is likely to take the right course by staying in. If the player allows his opponent to draw for free, then that is the end of the road for him.

To start with, analyze a player's simple odds while making a draw if he has four of the five cards which are required to complete it. For example, if he has A diamond-Q diamond and the flop is 8 diamond-J diamond-4 club, then the player needs one more diamond so as to finish a flush. It is proven statistically that a player is less than a 2:1 favorite to succeed in getting that last diamond. The odds are the same in an open-ended straight draw. A player is most likely to get this type of draw when he has a hand like Jack-10 and the flop is 9-Queen-2. In this case, he would require one additional card so as to make a straight.

A flush or straight draw is never a strong hand unless a player decides to steal the pot choosing this draw. The odds of hitting straight or flush are about 33% which means the possibility is once in every three plays. If a player wants to gamble, approaching all-in with a draw should always be a calibrated and calculated bluff for the simple reason that if his opponent has any sort of hand, he is likely to lose more pots than he is likely to win. This is sufficient reason for not drawing very often.

Another important fact that a poker player should keep in mind is if he draws, he should do that when he has the position. A poor and weak play when he is out of position is to check his opponent and he should then call on flop in the hope of hitting his draw on the turn. If he does not do this, he will need to check again and his move will be clear to his opponent. If the opponent is calibrated player, he is likely to bet huge amount to make our player pay for his draw. At this juncture, he is going to lay down his hand. If he plays just to see only one extra card with a draw, the odds are not good which are 4:1 against him.

If a player decides to continue with a draw, he needs to judge basic pot odds. Taking into account pod odds signifies that he is comparing the actual odds of making his hand using the odds that he is getting to play his hand. For example, in $ 2/4 no-limit game, assume he needs one more club to make his flush draw. Assume four players including him, pay minimum amount of $4 to see the flop. There is possibility that there would be $16 in the pot. Assume the first player bets $8, rest two fold and the action is on him. Along with his opponent's latest $8 bet, the pot is at $24 and it will cost him $8 to call. He is getting 3:1 pot odds (he has to call $8 to win $24, 24/8=3). Since he is getting about 2:1 odds for hitting his draw, he will be right if he calls in this particular situation.

So, in the end, if you are considering raising or betting with the draw, then do so if you have position on your foe. If you decide to play a draw, do it from a strong position.


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