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Big Draws After the Flop

Big Draws After the Flop
by Chad Holloway of Predictem.com

There are very few situations in poker where you are a favorite against your opponent when he is actually holding the better hand at that particular moment. These situations arise after the flop when you find yourself with a monster draw. Of course, not all monster draws make you a favorite; in fact, you must be drawing to fifteen outs twice (meaning you have fifteen outs on both the turn and river to win the pot) in order to be a favorite. Such a hand would entail some sort of combination involving a straight draw, flush draw, and two overcards to an opponent's pair. In More Hold'em Wisdom for All Players, Daniel Negreanu explains what constitutes a monster draw after the flop:

"Monster draws include a pair with a flush draw, a straight and a flush draw, a straight-flush draw, and flush or straight draws with over cards. These are usually powerful hands. Even when you're forced into playing a big pot, your odds of winning are still very good. For that reason, you can afford to be aggressive with monster draws after the flop."

Let's look at a few examples. Suppose you hold Kd Qd and you figure your opponent holds a medium pocket pair such as 9c 9s. If the flop comes something such as 4d 5d 3h, you have a 54.14% chance of winning the pot, making you a favorite with fifteen outs (any of the remaining nine diamonds, the three remaining queens, and the three remaining kings).

Even if the flop is not so favorable and comes something like 10c Jc 2s, you still have a 41.31% chance of winning since you have an open-ended straight draw and overcards. Unfortunately, many players do not know how to play their hand when they pick up a monster draw after the flop. Some players try to slow-play because they have a big hand with a lot of potential; however, this is not the best course of action. The reason behind this is because you do not yet hold a hand. Instead, you want to play your hand aggressively since, as Negreanu explains, "Aggressive play gives you two ways to win the pot: Your bet gets everyone to fold, or you end up improving your hand and winning the pot anyway." This is the recommended way to play a monster draw after the flop since it gives you two ways to win the pot rather than one if you slow play (if you slow play the only way to win the pot is to make your hand).

If your aggressive bet takes down the pot on the flop, so what; after all, you don't even have a real hand yet, just one with potential, so taking it down right there is not a bad thing. What if you get called? That's great too, since you have a monster draw and will make the best hand most of the time.

Picking up monster draws after the flop are few and far between so when you do have one, be prepared to play it even if it is going to cost you some chips. These are the sort of situations in tournaments and cash games where players are able to pick up a lot of chips and build up their stacks. Failing to take advantage and properly play these situations is a crucial mistake that you cannot afford to make, especially if you hope to find consistent success in poker.

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