Playing against drawing hands in online poker

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Jeffrey | Poker Articles, Poker Strategy

Submitted by Chris, this article belongs to the Poker Strategy series.

Chris submitted the article below on playing against drawing hands when the draw hits.

One of the most annoying things in poker is when a draw (that you’re not on) hits.  This brief article offers suggestions to help make the experience less annoying and more profitable.

In General, Exercise Caution
If you’re betting a made hand into a drawy board, and the draw comes in on the river, you need to take the time to analyze the situation at hand. Look at the texture of the board and the actions of your opponent through the hand, and see if the two correlate. If your opponent three bet preflop, and checks the flop and turn of a 34k5 board, then bets when the 6 hits, it doesn’t add up. Likewise, if your opponent limped preflop, then called bets on a 45K2dd board and the 8 of diamonds peels off on the river, a bet from him should probably be given a lot more respect than normal.

When the Draw Hits on the Turn

If the flop has a obvious flush or straight draw that comes in on the turn, position is paramount. If in position, base your play on your opponent’s reaction to the drawing card and your relative hand strength.  Like most hold em tips, this is easy to say but not quite as easy to execute.   If your hand has potential to outdraw a drawing hand; you have the nut flush draw when the third diamond hits, the draw to a better straight when the straight hits, it may be best to take a free card and try to peel the winner, without leading out again and getting check-raised to an amount that prevents you from calling. Out of position, or with a non improvable hand, the decision is trickier, but betting out and reevaluating is the best normal line; if your opponent doesn’t have the draw, he’ll generally duck out of the way, and if he does, you’ll find out in the form of a call or a raise.

When the Draw Hits on the River

When the draw comes in on the river, in position, these decisions are much easier; you don’t have the looming threat of another street to deal with. If your opponent checks, you can probably safely bet your good hands, unless you think the player is capable of check raising with a hand that connected. If your opponent bets, use judgment, pot odds, and your relative hand strength in making the call or fold.  For example, in Rush Poker, players are not as likely to get to the river with a backdoor draw. Good players recognize when draws come in that they can represent; be aware of that when a tricky player fires into you on the river when a draw makes. If you’re out of position, it’s pretty hard to fire again when the draw hits, so checking and calling or checking and folding, depending on those factors listed, is usually the best option. The last thing you want to do is bet out and get raised. If you don’t have the draw yourself, most of the time you’ll be hard pressed to find a call.

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