Poker Straight Draw
Straights are strong hands and will often win in poker Hold ’em. Straight draws come in a few varieties. The best straight draw is one in which either of two cards will give you a straight. There are a few ways to get there. The first is an open-ended straight draw. Let’s say you have 10♣-J♣, and you see the flop shown in this Figure:
Open-ended straight draws are usually worth pursuing.
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You will now complete your straight if an Ace or a Nine comes on the turn or on the river. This draw, also known as an up and down straight draw, is quite good in that anyone with two hearts, diamonds, or spades will need for them to come runner-runner on the turn and river. It will be very likely you will be behind in the hand because it’s a safe bet someone’s stuck around with a Queen or a King. Someone could also be playing Ace-2. If someone raised before the flop, it could be they’ve made a set, which should set alarms off in your head when that kind of flop comes out. If they have a pair of Aces, you have what is known as a trap hand in that if a third Ace comes before the end of the hand, they will have made trips and will often think they’re in the lead, but you will have completed your straight. If there’s no pair on the board, you have the nuts. If the board has paired, you will need to decide how aggressively you play the hand. It may do you well to check and call. If you don’t think they have it, you could simply bet; but if the player is aggressive, they may be betting because they know the only way they’re going to win is if you fold. The pot will almost always be big enough to call one bet on the end, so if you think you’re probably beat, check and call. Do call, though, when the pot is in any way substantial.
A second way in which two ranks of cards will make your straight is when you have a gut shot straight draw. For example, if you have J♦Q♠, and the flop comes, as shown in the figure below:
Drawing to inside straights will cost you money in the long run
You will now finish your straight if you catch a King. As of now, you have only one way to make the straight, which could change on the turn. You are now hoping to catch one of the four Kings, which only gives you half as good a chance as an open-ended straight draw. At about 12.5:1 against, the pot must be quite large to justify staying in. If you were to have two suited cards, your hand would be slightly more playable, but don’t count on making a living chasing gut shots.
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