Raising With A Draw

Learn The Secrets To Texas Holdem

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Let's talk about how to win more money when you're on a draw. Here's how most players play the draw:

You're just to the right of the button and you look down at your cards:

Josh, who's under the gun, comes out firing and makes it $15 to play. Darren calls and the action is to you.

You love your suited-connectors, so you jump in to see a flop. hoping to catch something that you can use to bust your opponents. Plus, you've got good positioning on Josh and Darren. The flop hits:

Nice! You've just flopped an open-ended straight flush draw. You've got more outs than you can count.

Josh, who made the original raise, comes out firing with very little hesitation. "Make it $30 to play", he says. Darren mucks his cards and the action is to you.

You call.

I mean, why wouldn't you? You've got an open-ended straight flush draw, you've got to see that turn and river card and hopefully make the big hand you're looking for. The turn card comes:

This is no help to you. Josh comes out firing again, this time with a $60 bet. And once again, you call. The river card comes:

Ouch. You've completely missed your draw. And now Josh bets $100, and you have nothing left to do but muck your cards and watch Josh rake in a big pot.

That, my friend, is a TERRIBLE way to play a draw. But it's how most card players will INSTINCTIVELY play it.

You see, one of the things you'll learn is that the NATURAL thing to do in a given situation is usually the WRONG thing to do. Because most people play REACTIVE Texas Holdem, rather than PROACTIVE Texas Holdem.

Don't let your opponents come out firing over and over again while you're on the draw, only to keep calling. When you behave like this, the ONLY WAY you can win is by making your hand.

Of course, the odds are almost always AGAINST you to make your hand. Even in this EXTREME situation where you had a open-ended straight flush draw, you still only had 54.12% odds of making your hand after the flop, and 32.61% odds on the river card. And that's the best your odds you will EVER get on a draw.

OK, let's look at the RIGHT way to play this hand. The key, of course, is RAISING the pot when you're on a draw. Let's take a look:

You've got 7-6 diamonds and the board reads:

Josh bets $30, Darren folds, and the action is to you. Instead of CALLING, you make a RAISE.

Now. if Josh has something like A-Q right now, he might muck his cards right here. But let's assume he's on a hand like A-K or K-Q and just made his top pair.

Your raise completely turns the tables on him. Now he's lost control of the action. he's got to put you on a big hand. He hesitates, then calls.

The turn card comes, and now the board reads:

Instead of firing a bet this time (as he did in our earlier scenario), Josh checks to you. He expects you to come out betting, of course.

And that's where you bought yourself a free card AND took control of the hand. You can bet him out of the hand right here. and still feel safe because you've got good odds of making your hand. Or you can check to see the river card and hope to make your hand.

If you remember in the FIRST scenario Josh bet $60 after the turn. And that was because HE WAS IN CONTROL OF THE BETTING. By raising Josh on the flop, YOU took control of the betting and Josh checked to you on the turn. So it cost you a total of $60 after the flop to see both the turn and river. instead of costing you $90 as in the previous scenario.

Not only that, but now you're in a position to BUY the pot. You can actually win it WITHOUT making your hand.

And there's ANOTHER benefit. If the turn card completed your straight or flush (or both), there would already be MORE money in the pot for you. Josh would still check to you, but you would have secured his $60 after the flop.

Because if you let Josh stay in control of the hand and another diamond hit the board on the turn, Josh would probably back off. knowing that the diamond might have just made your hand.

So you see, raising with a draw accomplishes three things:

  1. Gets you a free card.
  2. Puts you in a position to win the hand WITHOUT actually completing your hand.
  3. Gets more chips in the middle EARLY. that way if you DO make your hand you win more.

This is the perfect technique for MAXIMIZING YOUR WINNINGS on a big hand. while also minimizing your risk. The key is to be proactive, rather than reactive, and to raise with your draws in order to take control of the hand.

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