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When you are drawing

Many situations when playing the game of texas hold’em will require that you play a drawing hand. Tight players will often be drawing to the nuts since it makes the best hand and they can be confident they have the best hand when they hit. Knowing how to play a drawing hand is a critical skill to have in every poker player’s arsenal, since it’s such a common situation you will find yourself in when involved in a hand.

Generally a drawing hand refers to a poker hand that is behind now, but has a realistic chance of improving to the best hand by the river. This will include a flush draw, straight draw, combo draws, and two overcards like when you’re playing AK and have whiffed completely on a low card flop.

In all of these situations, the more “outs” or cards you have that you can catch on the next card to improve to the winning hand, the better your chances of hitting. Hence, you should be more willing to invest more money into the pot when you have stronger drawing hand with many outs and chances to make the winning hand, based purely on math and your equity in the hand.

Flush draws are a really strong drawing hand in texas hold’em and they are even better when you expect your over cards to be clean outs. For example, let’s say you have Ah-Kh on a flop of 8h-5h-2d and you expect your opponent to have an overpair.

In this situation, your flush draw gives you 9 outs and your over cards give you another 6 outs, making it 15 outs in total. You consider your over cards to be good in this spot because you have blockers to AA and KK so it’s much more likely your opponent has 99-QQ even when you expect him to have an over pair.

On this flop, you would actually be favorite to win the hand, so it makes sense to play your drawing hand aggressively. By doing so, it allows you to get all of your chips in the middle as the favorite, which is always the main objective in poker. Even if it’s a coin flip situation like when you have 12-13 outs, it can be profitable being aggressive with your drawing hand, especially when you can expect your opponent to fold a non zero percentage of the time, since your fold equity will make it a +EV play. Even if you’re called, you still have a ton of outs to improve to the winning hand.

That being said, more often then not, you will be playing drawing hands where you don’t have the leverage to play your drawing hands as aggressively since you will have fewer outs and less of a chance of hitting your draw by the river.

Most commonly you will have a flush draw or open-ended straight draw on the flop and will be facing a bet from your opponent will had raised pre-flop. In these situations, how to play a drawing hand will for the most part depend on the odds you’re getting. If the pot odds are in your favor you can make the call, knowing that you have a positive expected value of calling the bet in the long run.

Unlike stronger draws like combo flush/straight draws, a flush draw or straight draw is not a strong hand, especially when you’re involved in large multi-way pots and it’s expected at least one of the players has a made hand. Although you can choose to represent a strong hand by betting this bet is really considered a semi-bluff since you are expecting one of the other player’s to fold a better hand.

In the majority of live cash games, players get attached to any made hands, so you should be less willing to be aggressive with a drawing hand, unless you have a really strong drawing hand like discussed above. Instead, by altering your line and check/calling to keep the pot smaller, it allows you to get more favorable odds to hit your draw, because had you bet, not only are you likely to have been called when you were wanting a fold, but there is also the possibility of getting raised with your draw.

All in all, you don’t want to be getting attached to a drawing hand. If you are getting the odds to call, sure enough you want to try and hit your hand to stack your opponents with a big hand, but don’t make the mistake that is made by so many novice players by calling with really bad odds to try and get lucky.

Also, bear in mind that in a tournament, one drawing hand played badly can cost you a lot, if not all, of your chips. If you like to call your drawing hands down when the odds are right, you will have success in cash games. For great cash game action and a huge 200%, up to $1000 bonus we recommend Bet365 Poker - visit here and use bonus code COACH.