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Straight Draws In No Limit Texas Holdem

Draws in no limit Texas holdem poker can be a challenge to play. Some players swear by them, others refuse to play them if possible. How you handle draws will depend on the type of player you are, but there are some basics to know when it comes to straight draws.

What is a Straight Draw?

A straight draw happens when the board is such that one card can come on the board and make you a straight. There are three main types of straight draws:

An open-ended, or up and down straight draw, is where a card on either end can make you a straight. For example, you hold 78 and the flop is 6 9 K. Either a T or 5 will make a straight.

A gutshot or belly-buster straight is where the card you need is somewhere in the middle. You have T6 and the flop is 7 9 A. Only an 8 will give you a straight. A close-ended straight, such as A2 on a flop of 3 4 9, is also considered a gutshot.

A double gutshot or double belly-buster is where one card can give you one straight and another card can give you a different straight. You have T4 and the flop is 6 7 8. The 5 will give you an 8 high straight and a 9 will give you a T high straight. Belly-busters can be difficult to discover, so it?s important to pay close attention. Some poker sites will tell you what your best hand is at any given moment, but that only goes for made hands, not draws. In the example above, your best hand would be a ten-high, but you actually have a strong draw.

How Should One Play Straight Draws?

Before you play a these types of poker hands, consider the odds. Your chance of making an open-ended straight draw or double gutshot with one card to come is about 5-to-1 against, and making a gutshot is about 11-to-1. If you are getting pot odds better than this (including implied odds), it is correct to call.

However, in no limit Texas hold'em, you have another option. You can bet or raise with your straight draw. This play, known as a semi-bluff, has its advantages. You can get more money in the pot if you do end up hitting your straight. You can get opponents to fold even though you do not yet have the best hand. If you bet your straight draw on the flop and someone calls, you can then semi-bluff again if you miss the turn or check and possibly get a free look at the river. If you make your straight, you can check and represent that you had a made hand and are afraid of the straight, or bet out and try to make more money on the hand.

When Should You Not Play Straight Draws?

If the board is paired or there are three of a suit on the board, calling or semi-bluffing with a straight draw is not recommended, since you could make your hand and lose your whole stack to a flush or full house. If you are facing a flush draw, some of your straight outs may make a flush for an opponent, significantly reducing your hand odds, so a call may be incorrect here as well.

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Tilt Definition:

To become frustrated or upset with the game in a manner that has a negative impact on the quality of one's play.