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  1. #1
    PokerOwned God jasonv12's Avatar
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    How to Play Open-Ended Straight Draws

    One hand type I often see misplayed in our freerolls is open-ended straight draws. People get way over their head because they simply do not break down the numbers and think about how often they will hit and how to play the hand profitably.

    Remember, an open ended straight draw on the flop only has 8 out of the 47 cards unseen (2 in your hand, 3 on the flop), so if you continue on the flop with one, you will only hit the straight on the turn about 17% of the time.

    Because of this, you want to play hands with straight potential in position with the betting lead, rather than out of position, without the betting lead, because a straight draw is usually not enough to continue to an opponents standard continuation bet if you have to invest more than 25-30ish% of the pot size on the flop (factoring implied odds in that). Also, if you call a flop bet, you will most likely also face a turn bet. So to break this down, if your opponent raises their button to your small blind and you have 6s7s and are deep stacked, folding is still probably the best option unless you think you can out play them after the flop. In the same example, if you are on the button with this same hand, raising it up is fine and actually a great play assuming you're deep stacked (meaning at least 60-70 bbs).

    If you are playing suited connector type hands that may hit a open-ended straight draw (or all sorts of other things of course too), you must be at least 60 bbs deep. Think about the pot size. The pot starts with 1.5 bbs (the sb and the bb). On a preflop raise and single call, the pot becomes ~7.5 bbs. On a flop bet of 2/3 pot, the pot becomes ~17.5 bbs, on a turn bet of half the pot, the pot gets huge, like ~40 bbs. And any river bet will in most cases be for your remaining stack, even deep stacked. This is a TWO way pot, deep stacked, with NO RAISES other than the one preflop.. So you really need to make sure you are deep stacked enough to make this hand profitable to begin with. If so, great.

    In order to play a straight draw profitably, you have to play hands that likely draw to it:

    Most suited connectors have 3 ways to make an open ended straight draw with the exception of 23, 34, KQ, and AK (the last 2 obviously being great hands for other reasons).

    Suited 1-gappers [ie 97 of spades --> 68 or 810 on flop], 34 suited [A2 on flop only provides 5 to straight] and QJ suited [AK on flop only provides 10 to straight] only have 2 ways to draw to an open-ended straight draw.

    Suited 2-gappers [ie 96 of hearts --> 78 on flop], KQ [J 10 on flop] and 2 3 [4 5 on flop] provide only 1 single way to draw an open-ended straight and should be played with caution and understanding.

    With the exception of folding 23s and 34s usually, and playing KQ suited and AK suited differently altogether as their value is in different places, we want to play 98s type hands way more often than 96s type hands, as it has way more equity to draw to a straight.

    Also the high end of these like QJ, J10, possibly 109 are all more likely to flop specifically the nut straight and can be played with 100% confidence on unpaired board without 3 to a suit. Also, we these hands, we often can hit big pairs or overcards to the board, which allowed even more equity in other places.

    On wetter boards with 2 suited cards of the same flush possibility, if one's connector is of a different suit than the board's, 2 of your straight outs are often unreliable to be SURE they are good and offer another hazard if you continue.

    All of this is why playing in position is so important. It allows you to check behind in order to control the pot size and to see if you hit for free, but it also lets you fire a semi-bluff to take the pot down right there.

    In order to figure out which one of these to do, you need to consider your ability to stack your opponent.

    If you're in position like this against a calling station or some donk who can't fold, checking behind on the flop is beautiful because you can bet large if you hit and go to value town (yum yum).

    If you are against a straightforward player, however, just betting when checked to you will take the pot down 2/3 of the time, as your opponent only will hit the board about 1/3 of time. This is especially true on flops like 10 7 3 all different suits; if you're holding 9 8, chances are you can just win the pot right there, which is ideal as by just winning the pot, your equity in the pot is 100% and you are just being given money then and there, rather than trying to draw to it. That's why being the aggressor in spots like this is crucial against the right opponents (and honestly this probably isn't something to try in our freerolls, but more at a small stakes cash game or sit and go). If you are called, you KNOW your opponent has something and if you hit your straight, you also know you can get tons of value for your made hand.

    If your opponent bets into you or raises you at any point, you most likely have to fold. End of story. You are getting the wrong price to call. And a bare open-ended straight draw only has about 30% equity on the flop and 16% on the turn, assuming it's even live.

    Make sure to have a turn plan for if you miss your straight. Will you just check fold? Is bluffing reasonable/profitable? Do you have any other backdoor flush/overcards/bluffing cards (to represent) that could peel? etc. etc.


    Main story here: have position, keep the betting leading, have at least 60 bbs preflop, check behind/semi-bluff depending on you spot, be prepared to fold, get value if you hit or abandon ship if you miss.

    Now none of you donks are allowed to called 3 times the pot with an open-ended straight draw anymore, get it, got it, good.
    Last edited by jasonv12; 06-14-2013 at 02:49 PM.

  2. #2
    PokerOwned Demi-God HopsBar28's Avatar
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    This reads really well and it really is helpful. I've read similar things in a few books, of course, but it never hurts to have things reiterated (because I certainly don't remember to apply everything I've read in books regardless of how eye-opening it might have been). I suspect it's a bit long, though, and so might not get through to someone who doesn't want to take the time to read it carefully.

  3. #3
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    This is a very informative post thank you for this

  4. #4
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    If I think my opponent has a hand he might fold, I'll usually bet or raise with them. Depends on how your opponent plays. Also, if you are drawing to them you can keep in mind other draws on the board or scare cards that you can also bluff with if you miss your straight but one of those other cards come. Lately though online it seems the chips get so shallow so fast these types of plays just turn into all-in semi-bluffs.

  5. #5
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    Rule of thumb pot odds need to be 3 to 1 on flop and 5 to 1 on trn for me to call. Some instances I will raise with em. This is only in no limit holdem of course

  6. #6
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    very good info Jason, need to remember this myself, lmao!!!!!!!!!!!!
    JUST PLAYIN FOR FUN


  7. #7
    PokerOwned God jasonv12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lilnewtdog View Post
    Rule of thumb pot odds need to be 3 to 1 on flop and 5 to 1 on trn for me to call. Some instances I will raise with em. This is only in no limit holdem of course
    Raising with them is fine against some players, but it seriously bloats the pot and if you're re-raised back, even for a min raise, you'd have to fold unless you are playing like 200 bbs deep, as you'll have already committed so many chips, there isn't much value in hitting. Also if you're called and miss, what do you do? Fold? This isn't a bad play, it may be an amazing play some cases, but should be used sparingly against the right opponent, at the right time and definitely with understanding as to why you are raising.
    Last edited by jasonv12; 06-14-2013 at 02:51 PM.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the informative post, even though odds aren't always great, they're fun to play regardless.

  9. #9
    PokerOwned God jasonv12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BIGAUS View Post
    Thanks for the informative post, even though odds aren't always great, they're fun to play regardless.
    Well that's the thing. The odds aren't great, but in essence, if you can risk a small amount of chips to win a huge number, the odds can be made up for.

  10. #10
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    It basically comes down to this without having to read a book about it. Open ended straight draws can be profitable when played right and in the right position

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