It has been noted, and it is generally true, that a straight draw is arguably the hardest hand to play in poker. The vast majority of players over play the straight draw – it can make a monster hand and win you lots of cash - but it is more likely to lose you a lot of poker chips. The truth is, if you flop a straight draw and you have 6 outs, the standard odds of hitting these outs is approximately 30% – depending on how many poker players are at your table.
Bear in mind that when you're holding a straight draw, you should always consider: how much is the straight draw, how big are the blinds, and what's the size of your chip stack? It is also important to note how the other players at your table are playing? For a great many poker professionals, the issue is how much they are willing to gamble. Other things to take into consideration include the type of poker game that you are actually playing – these could be Sit & Go’s, poker tournaments or Ring Games.
Sit & Go Poker and Tournament Play Poker
When you are playing a Single Table Sit & Go, one of the very best hands to have is a straight draw. This is especially true in a multi-way pot. Poker players tout this as a great way to make lots of chips, especially when the blinds are low at the inception stages of a poker tournament. You're advised to play a tight game in the initial stages, but you should ideally chase your draws when the poker blinds are really low, and when there is a viable opportunity to hit those monster hands with as little risk as possible. As the tournament wears on, and high blinds become commonplace – in relation to your stack size – top strategists suggest that you should take the small ball approach and check your draw, or call a small bet.
It makes no sense to bust out while you are chasing a trivial draw. As the chip leader, you want to have your opponents out-chipped, and then you want to be extra aggressive with your draws, punt out on the flop, and move the low stakes all in if they punt. It's akin to a semi-bluff because your decision will affect them and if you get called, you still have lots of live outs.
Cash Game Strategy
If poker games are animals, then the cash games are the beasts of poker. Playing a straight draw in a cash game is really about being able to read your opponent – based on their past play performance. It's also about how much punting ability you have left in your game. Bear in mind that the blinds will never change. And the stack size really makes no difference whatsoever. Your goal here is not to oust your opponents, but simply to reel in the cash. Poker greenhorns and even intermediate-level players make the all too common mistake of buying in with the maximum chip stack that they have and being way too aggressive against what really are shorter stacks. The truth is that these players really don't know how to change up their game. As a poker player – novice or pro – you want to draw against these types of players. These types are guys will bet on most Flops and chase off most opponents. You should ideally play small ball against these guys by flat calling and seeing another card. If you hit, you will most likely double your money, by dint of their aggression. Try to remember that you should watch your opponents before making a decision on whether you should punt or not.
Fundamental Tips to Remember
As always in games of poker you want to keep your eyes on the players as much as you play your cards. Watch how your opponents are betting and always keep in mind the size of your stack in tournaments. Never ever go broke chasing a draw with one card to come when you can still fold and make a comeback. Only play against the straight draw when the risk is worth the reward. For example if the pot is just 250 and you have 1500 chips to put all in, it's not worth it. An open-ended straight only hits around 3 out of 10 times and an inside straight draw has even worse odds.