How To Play A Big Drawing Hand

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Today’s hand was sent in by Ralph. This is a hand from 2NL with a 1 cent ante. Action begins with Don who opens under the gun for 3 big blinds and hero decides to 3bet and Don calls.

In his write-up, Ralph says this: Done was a 30/10 over a small sample size of 10 hands, and Ralph made the assumption that Don was going to be pretty fishy. Let’s start with that assumption first. Like Ralph said the ten hands is a “pretty darn small sample size,” so I don’t really want to say that this person is for sure going to be pretty fishy yet. We simply can’t glean much from the 30/10 HUD stats. Now, if this person were playing 100/10 over 10 hands, yeah, very unlikely that he got 10 playable hands, 10 hands in a row.

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If that were the case, okay, I’m probably a little bit more on board with this, but with these HUD stats, I really don’t want to go overboard and make some huge, overarching assumptions when I just don’t simply think there’s enough info to make that kind of case.

Now, you could say, well, he’s playing 2NL online, so chances are he’s a little bit on the fishier, weaker side of the spectrum. Okay, fine, but, again, not over the top or anything like that, at least not with the information that we have.

All of that brings us to the first part, which is should we be 3betting in this situation? Personally, I would not 3bet this. I just don’t think that we have information to say that Don is really going to be opening super, super wide from early position. Because of that, if you’re assuming he’s a weak player, I don’t hate flatting here, taking position, and going forward from there. You don’t need to 3bet and bloat the pot, and you really have no idea what Don’s going to be calling with, what he’s going to be 4betting with. You probably don’t have too, too much of a plan. Because of that, I’m totally okay flatting, most likely just going heads-up to it and playing poker from there, rather than having to 3bet this situation. As played, here we go.

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In this situation again, hero 3bets, Don calls. Don decides to lead on a board of king, ten, six monotone. And of course we have the Ace of it, which is always fun.

Hero, of course, has a pretty large draw with the gutshot, the overcard, the nut flush draw, everything good going in his favor, and Hero decides to play it aggressively and play it fast.

Now, I feel this is what a lot of players would do, but I also feel there’s some conversation to have here. Think about whenever someone gets here and I ask someone, “Okay, what’s your reason for semi-bluffing in this situation?” A lot of the time, the reasoning really ends at: “I have a lot of outs, I have a big draw, and as such, I’m going to raise.” It’s kind of like the end of the semi-bluffing discussion.

In reality, that’s the beginning of the semi-bluffing discussion because you really have to think in this situation about a whole bunch of things. If you raise and call, what’s the future playability? If you raise and they shove, what are you doing? Of course, in this situation, pretty easy. We’re just going to snap that off. Also, comparing that to, okay, what if just decided to flat here? How do run offs work for you? Where do your edges lie? Which line is going to more profitable? Rather than just saying, “Well, I have a lot of outs and thus I raise,” think about everything.

In this situation, my issue here is I think that if we raise, we’re probably not generating a ton of folds. What hands is Don really going to lead/fold in this situation? I don’t think too, too many. Even if he has something like T9, I don’t think he’s going to be folding here a lot of the time.

You may say, “Well, I have a heap of equity against that,” and, sure, that’s true, but how is the hand going to play out? Because if they do decide to call, the pot is pretty darn bloated, and by the time you’re shoving on the turn, is there really any fold equity at that point? That’s great when you hit, but obviously you’re going to be missing the turn a pretty large chunk of the time, but then you’re just throwing in with a heap of equity.

I really don’t think that raising is necessary here. I think that you can actually generate a larger edge and use a larger edge. When you’re just flat here, use your position, allow them to make mistakes on future streets, rather than raise here and allow them to play a little bit closer to perfect.

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Yes, you do have a lot of equity, but it’s not like you’re going to be losing that equity a large chunk. You’re going to be able to realize your equity a pretty large chunk of the time in this situation, even when you just flat.

Again, the raise, I’m not super in love with it. I get it, a lot of players make this raise. This is not one that I’m super, super in love with, just given all the variables we have in this exact situation.

So Don calls, turn breaks off, check, and hero decides to rip it in. And this is really Ralph’s major question is whether or not this turn shove is correct. Here’s my issue with it. Again, kind of like I alluded to in the previous street, is that if we do decide to raise the flop and they call and we break turn, if we shove, we’re giving them a great price. They’re getting 3:1. Chances are, they’re going to be calling with just about everything.

Unless the everything they’re continuing with includes a lot of Q9 with the naked queen of clubs or something to that effect, chances are, you’re getting snapped off here by Kx of course, probably by Tx, because if he didn’t fold on the flop, he’s probably not folding now. There just aren’t a ton of overly-dominated, naked club hands that you’re probably going to end up seeing from this individual.

Again, probably no fold equity. When you get it in, yes, you have a decent amount of equity, but you’re not ahead by any stretch of the imagination really ever. So because of that, again, not super on board with it. If I did decide to raise the flop, I’m actually just going to check behind here.

As played, Don does call of course, so we end up losing to AK. It is what it is. Again, the major inflection points are preflop, do we want to 3bet or just flat? Again, I think flatting is okay. 3Betting with other information is totally going to be on board, too. I’m not saying never 3bet AJ, I’m just saying there are situations that make it better versus not as good. Then of course the flop-raise is the major decision. Do we just flat? Do we raise? What goes into that conversation beyond just we have a lot of equity is really looking at all the lines, all the possibilities, and what your EV is in all of those lines.

So that’s going to wrap it up for this video. Ralph, thank you so much for the great hand and hopefully this answers all your questions about playing this hand a little bit better.

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 300+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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