Playing high straight/flush draws on the flop when facing a raise

Hey all there’s one situation that I really hate in Texas Hold’em. It’s when I’m in late position and have a big draw on the flop, but there has been a raise (or even a re-raise). What’s the best thing to do here? Would love to know what you have to say!

It depends. Ring game or tournament? What pot odds are you getting? How about implied odds, are you likely to get paid if you make your hand? If you hit your hand, will it be the nuts or close to the nuts? How many others in the hand? Can you steal if the board pairs or will you be drawing dead?

This question isn’t as simple as it seems. :slight_smile:

1 Like

it’s like sun said that all those things matter which decision is the best, but i shall specify a few of them (all variables are just too much to explain and you will only truly get those things with experience) but i can explain the more common things to get a good idea of it.

first of all if all those things are just too hard to consider at the same time then start with the pot odds, this is the most important one and probably even the easiest one.

i can also explain why all those things matter:

  • ring game or tournament: in a ring game the wins and losses are worth the same but in tournaments you have to consider the icm (simply said that losses are worth more then your wins) so a flip in your advantage will be good in a ring game but bad in a tournament
  • pot odds: very important because you can see if you make money in the long run with a call
  • implied odds: also quite important because when you get a draw and have a raiser before you often means you have very good implied odds (simply said you expect to win more if you get your flush/straight)
  • if it’s close to the nuts or the nuts is a small difference but could turn out in huge losses because you expect to win: for example:you have KQ of hearts, board is 9h 2h Js. now if you get your flush you are very likely to win but you can also be beaten with Ax of hearts, so if this happens you may lose the entire tournament because you expected to win (which in most cases was the right decision however). but don’t get me wrong, getting all money in the pot with a huge flush is in almost all but the most extreme cases a very good thing for you. with the draw however remember it’s just a draw and no made hand.
  • other opponents are important to for two reasons: 1: if you get your draw you are more likely to get beat by a better draw (however often not really important but in some cases it is) 2: the good thing of many opponents is get paid off more often if you get your draw, with drawing hands many people in the pot is a good thing but if someone raises at you and you don’t get the right pot/implied odds to call then let it go (more callers means also better pot and implied odds)
  • a paired board can be really dangerous because even if you hit your draw someone may have a full house or better, so bet strong when this happens but don’t be scared to fold if the aggression gets too high (unless he also play like that with a top pair, overpair or especcialy when he does that with even less). simply said reading him becomes even more important on a paired board.
  • also your stacksize and the one of the opponent(s) matter: big vs big stack means huge implied odds if your opponent is willing to bet/raise. small vs small, small vs big, and big vs small often means very low implied odds, if your opponent is small, it’s almost always wrong to play the draw unless you get the right pot odds, if you are small it’s also like that but you can shove in most occasions as semi bluff. with medium stacks the right play is like explained in the previous points.
  • also your position is very important: when you are last you exactly know if you get the right odds to call, but if you are in mp and get a raise from early position with people after you, you won’t know what they will do after (or if) you call.
    however if you are in last position with 3 persons and the mp raises you it is also like you are in early position because the early position person will also have to act after you called, the only difference of a real early position is you already got the information that he checked earlier instead of no information.

here is an easy situation:

  • you have a flushdraw on the flop (9 outs) and 2 opponents, all have medium stacks and the first person bets a half pot lets say 500 in a 1000 pot, second person calls, now it’s your turn. before reading further think what you should do and even more important why…
    there is 2000 in the pot right now and you need 500 to call so a ratio of 4:1 your flush ratio is also about 4:1 to get your flush on the turn, so your pot odds are right to call, but you also have very good implied odds on top of that so i should defenitely call here. no fold is clear i assume, and i won’t raise here too because if you are lucky you get 2 callers but if not at least one person reraises with the wrong odds to call for you even when you had the right odds earlier, also you lost more now then before and thowed away a certain good call. simply said if you are sure that you get the right odds to call then call.

that was a very easy example now a trickier one:

  • blinds are 500/1000 and you have a stack of 9000 and the average is 25000. you are on the bb with Kh10h one person in mp limps and so does the sb you check, the mp has 85000 and is chipleader and the sb has 26000 in his stack. flop comes Js Qc 2d. the sb bets 3000 now it’s your turn. now you can call, fold, raise or all-in. before reading further think what you should do and even more important why…
    this is a quite difficult situation, call and raise are definitely the worst options, a call is like slowplaying an unmade hand which wont make any sense and raising is actually just like that, you minimize your fold equity and get 2 players in earlier. folding is not so bad because you still have 9 bb’s and with that a chance for a better opportunity all-in is also a fairly good option because you get the best possible fold equity, and using the rule of 4 and 2 means you get your straight on the river about 32% of the time, so if both fold it’s the best thing, if both call you have 32% to triple up (and need 33,33333% chance for that so you are very close) also because you got your bb already in means you risk 900 to win 3000 instead of 1000-3000, this way it is better then 32%, the only thing you don’t want is 1 caller. so all options give negative EV but folding and going all in are the best. i would still stick to going all-in because you need the chips as quickly as possible before you get blinded off also when you do get your triple up you are above the average stacks again.

hope this helps

1 Like

Just to clarify, what I was getting at with the " If you hit your hand, will it be the nuts or close to the nuts?" bit was that you don’t want to hit your hand and lose to a better one. I meant drawing to an ace or king high flush isn’t the same as drawing to a 4 high flush.

This situation does come up. For example, if 4 people limp in and you are in the BB with a hand like 42 suited, you might check and flop a flush draw. Calling a bet to try to hit your flush there is different than if you had an ace high or king high draw.

I’m using the 4 here as an example: the same applies to any “non nuts” draw.

yes good point: indeed with such a low flush you should be much more careful. still a low chance that a 2 hole card flush is beaten by a bigger one but with such a low one it certainly have to be considered an option.

As the SunPowerGuru said, it depends a lot on the situation. Let’s assume that we are talking about ring games with deep stacks (at least 100 bbs).

Flushes are strong and have good equity (reasonable chance to hit), but on the other hand they have pretty poor implied odds because it often becomes obvious when the third suited card hits the board, and you are not going to get too many more chips in the pot (unless you are losing to a full house). The additional caveat is that many Replay players are quite bad, so if you think they will play for stacks after you hit the nuts, that is different from playing a good opponent.

Straight draws are not as likely to be the nuts (losing to flushes and boats), and they tend have less equity than flush draws, but they can sometimes be more hidden. It is usually not worthwhile to pay a large amount even for an open-ended draw, and I will pay almost nothing to draw to a gutshot.

So, when facing bets or raises my decision making process would come down to basic math and pot odds. If I am closing the action and getting the right price I will call, but otherwise I will fold because I am not counting on getting good implied odds on future streets if I hit (pocket pairs, for example, are great implied odds hands preflop). If I am not closing the action and multiple opponents are aggressive, I will probably fold. It is also worse to call from early position because there is even less chance of getting paid off if you do hit.

BUT, while it is not great to try to call and chase straights and flushes, they can be a great opportunity to get aggressive and semi-bluff. I have had soooo much more success and action by leading out with a nut flush draw and then hitting the flush on the turn or river than just calling because it disguises your hand. People often assume you have top pair and they will call down drawing dead. The same is true for nut open-ended straights, but those hit less often. While it may seem like you are hurting your price to draw to your hand, it actually will pay off to show aggression. One other trick when you have position and you think your opponent has a medium strength hand is to min-raise their bet on the flop. They are unlikely to re-raise, you get to see a turn, and then if you miss you can often check back and see a free river.

There is, of course, a caveat to this approach, which is that people on Replay love to call with top pair, and if you miss your draw, you often end up in a spot where you can try to bluff the river. It is sometimes a good idea to fire if you think your opponent has worse than top pair or the board is scary, but usually it is better to just give up on the river. I actually love when I bluff and miss and then my opponent makes a huge bet on the river and I fold because it shows that I did a good job of representing strength and it just happened to not work this particular time even though I took the initiative and gave myself the right price to draw.

i mostly agree on your points but they do have implied odds most of the time, because if you have to call a bet and count if your pot odds allow you to call means also that your opponent have a hand and because they have a hand most of they will bet again even when the 3rd suit comes because they make it pretty obvious otherwise that you are scared of this card and give you the opportunity to bluff. even when you don’t 2/3 barrel you can bet small and most of the time they will call to a small bet because they have a hand anyway.
so in short: i agree most of the time you won’t win a huge pot based on the implied odds but you will often get implied odds and they are certainly worth considering if you know how to play the right way.