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Straight draw

Straight draw is a combination that requires one card for completing the straight. In Limit Texas Hold'em, straight draw is considered a strong combination and it can be of two types:

  • Open ended-straight draw
  • Gutshot

Open ended-straight draw is a combination that consists of 4 cards in a row of different rank, and only 2 cards are needed to complete the straight. For example, you have 6♠ 7♣ 8♥ 9♠ and you need any 5 or 10 in order to hit the straight.

Gutshot is a combination that consists of 4 cards and only one card of any suit is required for completing the straight. For example, you have 5♠ 6♣ 8♥ 9♠ and you need any 7 to hit the straight.

With an open ended-straight draw, you get 8 outs for straight. If you hit an open ended-straight draw on the flop, then your chances for improving the hand on the turn and river are approximately 2.2 to 1 (31.5%).

Your hand will be stronger in the case of additional value, such as pair and/ or overcards, the potential for a backdoor flash draw, etc. For example, you have A♠ 4♠ and the following cards are on the flop: 6♦ 5♠ 3♥. This gives you an open ended-straight draw (8 outs), overcard (3 outs) and backdoor flush draw (1 out).

On this flop, you get 12 outs in total (45%) for improving your hand at least to a pair. Or you have J♠ T♠, the following cards are on the flop: 9♣ 8♠ 3♦. This gives you an open ended-straight draw (8 outs), backdoor flush draw (1 out) and 2 overcards (6 outs).

The flop brings you 15 outs in total (54.1% on the turn and river), but you will feel comfortable if you hit the straight.

Is it worth playing draw?

When you hit a straight draw on the flop, you want the flop to be rainbow. Every time 2 suited cards appear on the flop, you need to exclude 2 outs in favor of flush. If there are 2 suited cards on the flop and your opponents demonstrate a bright action, you should fold the straight draw because of a likelihood that your opponents have a set, two pairs and flash draw.

In most cases, when you hit an open ended-straight draw on the rainbow flop, you will have good pot odds for draw. However, there are few exceptions that you should pay attention to:

  1. The pair appears on the flop and intense action arises. When the board is paired, it’s much easier for your opponents to hit a full house.
  2. You play in a heads-up without pair or two overcards on the preflop. The pot won’t give you enough chances to call. Perhaps, it’s worth trying to make a semi-bluff in this situation, but don’t check or call all the time until the river.

For example, you have 5♠ 4♠, the following cards are on the flop: J♠ 7♥ 6♣. This gives you an open ended-straight draw, but it should be played as a gutshot (4 outs to win), because you will feel confident if 3 comes, as 8 may complete the straights for the stronger hands.

Open ended-straight draw with using only one card from your hand

It includes such flop types that are not as strong as those ones where you can use your two hole cards. The reason is that your opponents are likely to hit the straight and someone may have already hit the straight on the flop.

There is also a high probability that you will split the pot if you hit a straight. The action also subsides when the 4th card of straight is dealt and it will be difficult to pay off in this situation, even if you have the best hand.

Gutshot straight draw

This is such type of draw that gives you only 1 card for straight and 4 outs in total. The odds are about 11 to 1 for improving on the turn. This hand is strong enough if there is an extra value, such as two overcards. K♠ Q♠ on the flop that consists of T♠ 9♣ 6♦ is considered to be a fairly strong draw – gutshot straight draw to the nuts (4 outs), 2 overcards (6 outs, but beware of a possible straight in the case a queen appears) and potential backdoor flash (1 out).

In a heads-up, such hand should be played aggressively. As a rule, you won’t have enough pot odds for playing with only a gutshot straight draw, unless the pot was raised before the flop. If there are a lot of callers on preflop, then you can play draw on the flop, but do this if you aim to improve your draw to the nut straight.

For example: you raise with A-Qs (suited) and 4 opponents call you. K-T-3 come to the flop (there are 10 small bets in the pot). You check, your opponent bets behind you, and there are several callers between you and the bettor. In this case, the pot odds allow calling in the hope that jack will appear and bring you the nut straight.

Your chances are about 11 to 1 for improving on the turn (8.7%), but the pot is big enough for the correct call. If you want to continue playing the gutshot, then you should almost always fold if there is a risk that someone will raise behind you.

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Cardmates journalist, news editor and translator since 2016. Specialization: poker news and review of events.
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