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Pot Limit & No Limit Poker : Play Poker

DRAWING HANDS

    There is different poker strategy involved at big-bet poker while playing a drawing hand such as four-straight of four-flush than its counterpart at limit play poker, as the psychology and math are so different.

Since, the pot odds warrant a call it would be very rare to fold a four-straight of four-flush for a single bet. Big bet poker strategy often says a fold is in order, because a pot-size bet means such a hand is not getting adequate odds to play.

    Let’s try to understand a typical pot-limit hold’em situation where you flop a flush-draw. Suppose you hold Q♣-J♣ and the flop comes K♠-8♣-6♣. In the pot, there is $100. Three of you have stayed for the flop. What action should you take when the first poker player bets $100, and the middle poker player folds?

    Don’t succumb to the temptation of playing more poker. For several reasons, you have a clear fold.

(1) Insufficient pot odds is one of the reasons. Out of a total number of 47 unknown cards (52 less the 2 in your hand and the 3 on the board), you have 9 cards that make the flush.

This implies that you are over a 4-1 underdog to make the flush (only 9 wins, and 38 non-wins). The pot odds are only 2-1. (After your rival poker player has bet, there is $200 in the pot, and it will cost you $100 to call). A fold is dictated by pot odds.

(2) The implied odds are not of much help. Your rival poker player will make sure that there are three clubs on the board if you make the flush. On this layout of cards it is very unlikely to extract more money from your rival poker player.

(3) You are not hitting to the nuts. At big-bet poker, this is a key point. One of the nine cards that makes your flush pairs the board. None of the eight non-pairing flush cards will make you the nuts either. Suppose the rival poker player is betting on the nut flush-draw or top pair and a flush-draw.

Such bets are very common. This horrible position puts you with the worse hand going in, and you can take a big loss if you hit what you are hoping for. You could hold a lot better drawing hands than this queen-high flush poker draw. Let’s try to understand them.

    We’ll use the same flop of K♠-8♣-6♣.

  1. 9♥-7♥. How could a simple straight-draw be better than a flush-draw? Two (the 10♣ and the 5♣) of the eight cards which make the straight could make someone a flush. There are a couple of things going for straight-draw. First, if you hit the hand, you figure to make some money on it, because the rival poker player will not fear a ten of a five like he fears a club. Secondly, you are will placed to launch a successful bluff if a flush card comes, especially in position.
  2. A♣-2♣. By pairing the ace the nut flush-draw might win, and the implied odds are attractive as there is a possibility of catching the rival poker player on a flush-draw. You clean up when the flush comes.
  3. K♣-Q♣. A flush-draw and top pair. You might get a hand which is good and you can also draw out if it’s not.
  4. 10♣-9♣. You get a get gut shot straight-draw to go with the flush-draw. The math changes considerably even though there are only three more outs. Since, the straight may well get paid off the implied odds are in your favor.
  5. 9♣-7♣. A powerful holding is a straight-draw.

     The chances of raising the pot when we have a good drawing hand should also be considered. Such a wager gives us a good chance to win the pot right there at big-bet poker. Which are the most suitable hands for raising?

     I will rather raise than call when I have a good drawing hand, but am not hitting to the nuts. If my non-nut draw is a pair and flush-draw or a straight-draw and flush-draw, I can’t be sure whether the flush is good when it comes.

    Whacking the rival poker player with a big raise and hoping that he folds is my tendency. If everything goes the way as planned, my hands will have plenty of outs, even though I’m not sure what they are.

    You get to look at two cards without having to pay again for the second card when you gun it out on the flop with a draw. Thus, changing the odds considerably. You may even become the favorite with a big draw.

    Getting a lot of money committed to the pot is a situation, which you want to avoid with a draw-perhaps from a quarter to half your stack-and, come out of position with one card to come. If the rival poker player has a good idea about what you have by this time, he can try to bail out if you hit and set you all-in if you miss.

    We should introspect the beginning of the hand to avoid this unpleasant situation. You must avoid building a drawing hand if you are deep enough in money that a check-raise will leave you out on a limb rather than all-in with no more decisions.

    You should play “pair poker” for your starting hands if you are up front with deep money. Not building a draw up front out-of-position is the strength of the top poker players. It is not a perfect world, and we can never be sure of what we are building. However, you can play the percentages by guessing intelligently.

    The chances that you will flop a draw rather than a made hand are more when you are a hold’em player and pick up a J-10 suited or an 8-7 suited. When the money is deep, you should muck those hands up front.

    A draw is a worse hand up front in pot-limit poker than in no-limit poker.  At least at no-limit poker you have a way to not get caught out of position with half your stack in the pot when the turn card arrives; you can scoot it all to the middle!

    An element of doubt is put in the rival poker player mind if you are willing to play a drawing hand aggressively even if that means committing all your money on the occasion. He normally thinks, “Does he have a big hand, or is he drawing?”

    It is amazing to see how a poker player who is stuck in the game manages to convince himself that your big bet is probably based on a draw. Obviously, the most crucial aspect to your bankroll is getting your good made hands paid off.

    Figuring out the probability of making poker money after all the cards are out is particularly important when you are drawing or trying to figure out whether to call a bet or raise. Therefore, you should think about the price on drawing out as well as guess what the implied odds are.

    This can either hurt or help your situation if the game uses board cards where the rival poker player can see the card that you have got. You are unlikely to get paid off if the cards that improve your hand are the ones that your rival poker player is going to figure out which is usually the case.

    A highly favorable aspect both in moneymaking when hitting, and letting your bluff successfully when missing is to hit a hand that will surprise your rival poker player. The implied odds are always helpful if the last card is concealed, as is the case with a stud poker or a draw poker.

    For a better understanding of this situation where the card is unknown to your adversary, refer to the chapter “Pot-limit Concepts” following our London Lowball chapter.



 

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