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How to Play Draws

It’s always great when you smash the flop and hit a flush or straight right away, but, unfortunately, that’s just not often the case. What’s more likely is that we end up with 4 to a straight or flush with two streets left to play. These hands are called draws. How do we play them optimally? Start by assessing the context. How good is your draw? Are you drawing to the nut flush or to a bottom straight? Then factor in other elements like position, stack sizes, and your opponent’s psychological player profile. Only when we take all of this into account can we figure out what’s actually the best line. In this article, we’re going to break down some of these common scenarios by dividing our drawing hands into different ranges. You can then put your draws into these buckets while you’re playing to get an edge over your opponents. The Polarized Range Let’s start by looking at the very top and very bottom of our drawing range, where we’ll used a polarized strategy. Basically, this means our opponents won’t know whether our hand is great or terrible—and that’s the point. It all starts with the check. We’ll want to check-fold with our worst hands, and we’ll check raise with our best hands. This makes it so we’re difficult to play against and helps us to stay balanced.

Remember, our best hands here aren’t made hands. We’re still not guaranteed to win, so the check-raises are actually semi-bluff. Sure, if we get there then we’ll have our opponent crushed, but we’re still bluffing with a draw. The Merged Range On the other side of the coin, we have the merged range, where our hands between the two extremes falls. The merged range contains hands like AK that are drawing towards a better hand but still have reasonable fallback of ace high. If you could check down and win, then you probably have a hand in the merged range. These hands are more likely to want to bet outright or check-call than polarized hands. If you need to call a bet with one of these hands, it all comes down to your pot-odds, which ask how many chips you need to risk compared to how many chips you could win. Again, semi-bluffing here can be a good option, especially if you’re playing against a nitty opponent who will probably fold. Even if they do call, you’ve got outs to the best hands. Try it Now! POKERRRR2 with your Buddies!


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