Holdem Draws

Value Betting Draws

In Hold'em, draws are important to play the flop, under almost all table conditions. The differences are that you should be betting when your rival has a draw. With other conditions you should be betting when you have a draw. In some cases, you should be checking and calling when others have a good draw. Different draws need to be considered in different ways.

A draw on the flop has value if the chances of the draw making and winning are larger than its fair share. By "fair share " we mean what percentage win rate would be if winning was just random. If four players are competing on the flop, then a fair share is 25 percent (one out of four). If your chances of winning are larger than 25 percent and you have three or more rivals who will call, then you should be betting or raising for value. This is certainly not the pot odds. It is a value bet on a draw where the value comes from having enough callers to give you bet odds larger than your fair share.

Flush Draws

There are four kinds of flush cards and they all play somewhat differently. There are suited Aces, suited big-little (such as K5 or Q5), suited connectors and other suited cards. The strongest among these are suited Aces and suited connectors. The suited Aces are draws to the best possible flush. That is not really their basic strength because suited Aces and suited connectors are likely to have drawing features when they flop flush draws. The Ace is an overcard adding three outs to the hand and suited connectors flop a straight draw or a gut-shot straight draw to combine with the flush draw. These extra three or four outs are what make them best draws.

A flush draw is about a 4-1 underdog to make in one car. It is about a 2-1 underdog to make in two cards. When you have a flush draw, you know that you will need 4-1 pot odds to call a bet on the turn. If the game is little loose you also know the pot will be big enough to give you those odds. That means that when you consider a flush draw after the flop, you think about the odds of making it in two cards but don't have to worry about the cost of those two cards. The pot will pay for the second card. The current round betting round is what pays for the first card. If the pot is large enough on the turn to give you 4 -1 pot odds, then you need just two callers on the flop to give you sufficient odds to bet or raise an Ace-high flush draw for value.

This makes flush draws stronger on the flop in a loose or very loose game because you don't require pot out odds to call on the flop. It is even stronger in a very loose, very aggressive game because you only need 3-1 bet odds to profit from a bet or raise. If you are in that situation where you have three-or four callers and one of them raises for you, then that is just free money.

As stated earlier, a flush draw is a 2-1 underdog on the flop if you will take the hand to the river. You will make the flush once for every two times you miss. That means, if you are getting 3-1 on your bets on the flop, you will make money if you know your flush will be good. Because you are not always sure about that, you want to get 4-1. If you get four callers on the flop whenever you bet a flush draw, you will make more amount of money on flushes.

Therefore, on the flop you want to bet or check-raise in a manner as to trap players, not to limit the field. If you think a poker players to your left will bet then you should check-raise. If you think the player on the button will raise then you should bet from UTG and re-raise him if three player besides him have called. You are not semi-bluffing, neither is you trying to limit the field but you are trying to make much money, from as many players as you can.

If your table is very loose and fairly aggressive, you can exploit that by playing a lot of flush cards. The reason is that you will be paid off. Getting paid off with the flush involves more than just getting called when you make the flush. It may also involve getting extra bets in the pot when you have got a draw. In a loose, fairly aggressive game, this can be a source of winning.

Straight Draws

Unlike flush draws, straight draws cannot be played so automatically. There are two reasons for this: the first reason is that straights are harder to make than flushes and the second reason is that flush straight are often vulnerable to being beaten by a flush.

Look for Something Extra

The more the number of player plays actively for the pot, the less likely it is that you should play a draw to a straight. In many cases you should not draw at all unless you have little extra in your draw. You should be much more likely to draw to a straight if:

1. There is no flush draw on the board.
2. Your draw is to the nut straight.
3. Your draw includes overcards.
4. Your draw includes a three-flush.
5. Your draw includes a pair.

Suited connectors often have to give up on the flop. You are not going to hit a whole lot of flops with these hands and when you do hit the flop, you have to be almost selective about going past the flop with these poker hands. Suppose if you flop the second pair you might want to call a bet on the flop if you have also got a three-flush, but without that three-flush you might not want to call. You may not want to call if you flop a draw to the low end of a straight, but if you have got a three-flush, you might want to play ahead and take a card off.
The looser the game and the more aggressive the game, the fewer straight draws you should be playing. Let's define such kind of situations. Suppose you have 87 and the flops which might give you a draw are:


This is a nut straight draw. There is no possible flush draw on the board. You have a backdoor flush draw. The backdoor flush draw is worth the equivalent of about two outs. With no flush draw out on the board, the nut straight draw has eight outs. This flop gives you ten outs, which is better than a flush draw. You should raise with this draw if you can get two callers.


This is somewhat similar to the earlier flop but there is a possibility of a spade-flush draw on the board. The backdoor flush is worth two outs and the straight draw six outs, so this flop gives you about eight outs. You should raise with this hand also but you need three or more callers.


This flop is a worse flop. You have straight draw but the Jack won't make you a best hand. A 6? is not likely to help you. You many already be beaten by a flush and if not you only have three outs. You should fold if someone bets.

A Pair on the Board

In tight games, a pair on the board does not automatically present a significant risk that someone has three of a kind. Based on the rank of the rank of the pair, there might not be much risk at all. In a tight game, there is big difference between a flop of QQ7and a flop of QQ7. The reason is players are likely to have played a hand with a Queen in it than a hand with a 7 in it.

In loose games, the situation is not true. In a loose or very loose game, the risk that a pair on the board has given someone three of a kind is significant play poker very carefully.

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