You are holding 7c-6c in a multiway pot and the flop comes Ac-9c-2s. If you remember what we have learnt in the lesson about pot odds and outs, you are not in a bad situation, but is it a hand that’s worth playing up to the last street? How can you decide if a draw is worth investing in or if chasing the project of a point is not the way to go? Let’s try to find out!

Good draw and “bad draws”

The easiest way to split the draws in two classes is also the right way to approach the topic i trying to find out if you should or not invest into the pot.

  1. Nut draws: in the case where you are holding a draw which will make you win the pot no matter what if hitted, then it might have sense to pursue the project. E.g. if you are holding Ac3c on a flop like Qc-9c-2s, it means that each of the 8 remaining clubs in the deck will make you win the hand, plus also a falling Ace might give yourself the pot if you opponent has KK-KQ-QJ type of hand. If he holds KK in the above scenario, you’d still have 46% of chance to scoop the pot, which is not a bad shape, considering there might be already a lot of chips in the pot.
  2. Naked draws: are considered naked draws the ones when even scoring the out needed, you might not have the best hand. If you are holding Th-8h on a flop like Ah-6h-6c, it’s still true that you have 8 outs, but there’s no guarantees that hitting one Heart is going to give you the pot, given your opponent could have either an higher flush or a full house.

Should I play draws aggressively?

Generally speaking, in case of drawing for the absolute best hand, then the answer is yes. Taking an eye on the pot and another one of the remaining stacks, you are likely going to play a +ev spot, which means that in the long run is supposed to make you win money.

In case of other draws, one of the biggest mistake is playing them too passively anyway. Ok, a naked draw isn’t an assurance for scooping the pot, but if you set yourself in a check-call mode, you’ll end up wasting money in the long run.

If you hit your draw, your opponent might still have the best hand or just fold at the very end; if you do not hit it, it’s almost impossible to win the hand.

Should I bluff with missed draws?

Hard to tell, because it depends strictly on the situations, opponents’ styles and board. If you have played it passively and missed, then it’s harder to represent a strong hand; if you have a strong draw and have missed it, then it might have sense to fire one last stab at the pot, trying to make your opponent to fold.

What it counts is that you keep a balanced range of bluffing, so for the times when you miss the draw and decide to push even harder, there are other times when you bet for pure value. E.g. either with 8h-8d or As-5s you should betting on the river on a board like 8s-4s-2c-Kd-Td!