Playing Draws OOP
Thursday, 14 June 2012
Playing draws out of position can be very tricky and different players play them differently. Ben Jackson explains how to make the best of it.
Playing draws out of position can be very tricky and different players play them differently. For example, some players like to put maximum pressure on their opponents on all streets, whereas others tend to play such hands passively until they hit. A few such situations arose recently when I played the Genting Poker Series in London. What a great competition it turned out to be! It was guaranteed at £100k, but made over £200k, which was a fantastic turnout. It was also a very well-structured tournament with a lot of high profile players, such as Neil Channing, Surrinder Sunar and the Chattha brothers.?
It’s the first level and the blinds are 25-50. I open UTG with 6?7? and get 3-bet by the button to 625. It’s folded back round to me and I decided to call, for two reasons: firstly, the guy who 3-bet me was about 115 years old, so he is never 3-betting me light. That means he has to have a big hand here, so my implied odds are massive. Secondly, I feel like I can outplay him post flop. If any scary boards come, he might fold over-pairs and there’s a slight chance he has A-K, in which case it would be easy to make him fold if he misses the flop, and I am pretty sure he would make it obvious if that turned out to be the case.
The flop comes A-10-J with two spades, so I have a flush draw. I check and he bets 725. I’m now pretty sure that he has hit this flop in some way, but not massively, as I don’t think he would 3-bet pre-flopT with pocket tens, pocket jacks or A-J, so he either has a one-pair hand, with A-K, K-K, Q-Q, or top set. I decide to re-raise to 1,850 because I think, unless he has A-A, he will either fold now or to my turn bet (which he was definitely going to get!). It also disguises my hand, because I think he would check-call flush draws, so it’s a reasonable assumption that he thinks I would do the same.
He calls and the turn comes Q?, which is a very interesting card because it puts four to a straight and my flush draw gets there (standard for me). I decide to check because I don’t think I can get two more?streets of value from two-pair or sets, so I’d rather check now and bet big on the river if he checks behind. If he bets the turn, he has to have a straight, with A-K or maybe K-K (if he couldn’t bring himself to fold kings on the flop), so I would most likely be check-raising as I don’t think he would fold a straight on any street because, as I was once told by an old person, "straights are hard to make".
He decides to check behind, so now I am pretty sure he?has Q-Q or maybe A-A. I think, because I checked the turn, I can get a decent-sized bet out of those hands, so I bet 3,400. He tanks for a little and decide to make the call, which I am happy to see.
The next hand was a bit later on in the tournament. With the blinds at 50-100, mid-position makes it 250 and I flat in the small blind with 5?6?. We are still deep and I’m happy playing a flop, even if I’m out of position. The flop comes A-9-10 with two hearts. I check?and my opponent bets 400 into 600.
He can still have anything here, so I decide to raise to?1,100,?thinking he’ll fold most of the time, and if he doesn’t I still have nine outs. He calls and the turn comes another ace, which is a bad card for me because, unless he was floating the flop, he’s now unlikely to fold anything on the turn that he called with on the flop.
However, despite this, I don’t want to simply check-fold because if he has an ace I can get a lot off him if I hit, so I decide to lead for 900 into 2,600, which he should just call with his entire value range, as he wants to keep me in with A-x and can’t raise anything else. Therefore, this bet allows me to see the river for 900 instead of check-calling a bigger bet of something like 1,700.
The river is ten which is an awful card, as now I can’t make any hand fold unless it is J-J, Q-Q or K-K, but even then he still might call. The only hands I can make fold are hands like J-Qo or missed hearts, but I was pretty sure he had a value-hand as opposed to a draw because I thought he would play a draw a bit more aggressively. I decide to check and give up. He checks behind and shows 9-10. ?
So, as you can see, there’s no “standard” way of playing draws out of position, as all situations are very different. This means we have to base our plays purely on the information we have on our opponent’s hand at the time.