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Playing Drawing Hands Aggressively

When playing a drawing hand, you are going to have a lot of options. Most people will check-call with their draw in an attempt to hit with minimum risk. While this play can be profitable, playing the same hand with an increased level of aggression can lead to you adding a few more chips to your stack than you would have by check-calling.

 

Playing a draw aggressively means leading out with a bet, or raising your opponent when in later position. While many poker players want to make hands as cheaply as they can, this style will net you much bigger pots, and also allow you to take down some small pots before showdown without having to hit your hand. Playing this way requires a good read on your opponents and a lot of experience in these types of situations. When first experimenting with playing your draw aggressively, only do so when drawing to the nuts, or the top straight. You do not want to be playing your drawing hand aggressively only to run into a bigger drawing hand, this will lead to great frustration and disappointment.

 

When in the hand you are either going to win by going to showdown with the best of it, or forcing your opponent to fold before showdown. Playing aggressively will allow you to not have to show your hand down when playing against passive players who are folding anything less than TPTK. Betting out with your draw also works as a semi-bluff type of play, again, knowing your opponent is key.
Betting your draws aggressively will mask your hand, as you are displaying a lot more strength than if you were to be check-calling in the hand. When you bet out, you are telling your opponent that you have already hit your hand, and many players are going to have a tough time pegging you as being on a draw. This plays to your advantage as when you do hit your flush or straight on the turn, they will continue to bet or call as they will not be giving you proper credit for your hand.

 

The other great thing about playing your draws aggressively is that you are going to be building the pot bigger than normal for those situations. This will make it so that if your opponent decides to raise you, you are probably going to be getting the right odds to call. The bigger you can make the pot, the better your odds are going to be to call raises, and many times they will be doing so with that TPTK hand which you have the ability to crush.

 

Here is a hand that shows a great example of what we are talking about. I am holding As-6s, and am heads up before the flop with my opponent holding Qd-9c. The flop hits and shows Qs-Jc-8s giving me a draw to the nut flush, and giving my opponent top pair with a mediocre kicker. I am in first position, and bet $30 into a pot of $60. Here, my opponent raises me, and makes it a minimum raise to $60, trying to protect his hand, though not betting enough to really do so. Now, there is $150 in the pot, and it is going to cost me $30 to continue to play, giving me five to one pot odds. The odds of making my hand are just about four to one, making the call an easy one. When my spade comes on the turn, the pot I get to play for is that much bigger because I have been aggressive with my draw on the flop.

 

I was not able to get my opponent off of his hand with my semi-bluff, however I was priced in really nicely to keep playing and hit my hand. Now, if I play the hand passively and check the flop, and my opponent makes a $30 bet at me, I am only getting three to one, and calling is not nearly as easy. You can often manipulate the pot odds to be in your favor by playing aggressively and your opponent raising you.

 

Poker profitability is all about making the correct plays and forcing your opponents to make mistakes, and the bigger the pot, the bigger the mistake that your opponent will make.

The Basics of Value Betting

Short Term EV

5 Mistakes When Playing Pocket Aces

Playing Irrational Players

Thinking Through Your Poker Hands

Playing Your Draws Aggressively

Basic Bankroll Management

Common Beginner Mistakes in Poker, Part 1

9 Reasons You Lose At Cash Games

NLHE Table Selection

Playing Middle Suited Connectors

Playing OverPairs

Avoiding Tilt

6 Tips for Beginners

Playing The Turn in NLHE

Tournament Play - Playing The Shortstack

Common Beginner Mistakes in Poker, Part 2