Playing Straight Draws in Texas Hold’em

Of all the draws you can have in Texas Hold’em, straight draws are possibly the most difficult to play. That’s because you have two different types of them in inside and open-ended straight draws. Open-ended straight draws are obviously the most favorable to play since they give a person 8 outs while inside draws only offer 4 outs. Since these two draws differ greatly from each other, it can be very difficult to decide what to do in each instance. Here is a look at what to do when you have each draw.

Open-Ended Straight Draw

As mentioned before, an open-ended straight draw (OESD) definitely gives you the better shot at hitting your hand by the river but you still need a bit of luck to hit since you only have 8 outs to hit your straight. You should almost always be drawing for the nut straight when you have this kind of hand to make sure you’re not drawing to the second best hand.

However, you should watch out for a couple of things before you fully commit to your open-ended draw. One of these things is when there is a pair on the board and other tight players are betting heavily; this means there is the potential for a full house on the board. Another thing to beware of is when you’re only using one of your hole cards to make the straight because it’s likely someone else will be drawing for a higher straight.

Inside Straight Draw

With an inside straight (gutshot), your odds are cut in half so you will rarely call just based on this hand. However, it makes sense to draw for the inside straight if you’ve got additional value in your hand such as overcards, a flush, etc, or if you’re getting good implied odds and can be very confident of getting paid off when you do hit. This can often be the case versus opponents whom you suspect are strong since when you you hit with your gutshot it’s very well disguised You can also draw in this instance if there were several limpers before you since your pot odds will increase significantly.

Playing Straight Draws Aggressively

It’s easy to push your advantage when you’re holding pocket rockets preflop. And there’s a very good chance you could have the advantage after the flop hits the board. However, it is much tougher deciding what to do when you’ve only got a straight draw. It is so tough that many players decide to limp in before the flop and on the flop, then fold as soon as their draw doesn’t hit. But the key to playing straight draws correctly is to play them as aggressively as possible on the flop/turn against tight players because they will always fold unless they have a strong hand.

Here is a look at how to do so. When you limp in with a draw, the only way you’re going to win is by hitting your hand. You’re unlikely to bluff an opponent if you merely call everything that comes your way. However, if you were to raise with a drawing hand on the flop, you can either win by making your opponent fold to the raise, or by hitting your hand if the opponent calls. In either case, you have one more chance to win the pot by playing your draw aggressively. And even when your raise does happen to get called, you are bloating the pot for the times you hit your straight draw, and will likely get to see a free card because your opponent will check to your on the next street as they will fear you have a strong hand since you raised on the flop.

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