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Poker Strategy

Draw Strategy – When to Hold and When to Fold

Written By: PokerNet.com | November 28, 2011 | Posted In Poker Strategy

Draw strategy is a way of making poker decisions based on your initial hand. Draw strategy can be used for any number of poker games, including lowball and other variants.

The idea behind draw strategy is simple: if you are dealt poor cards, the odds of turning those cards into a winning hand is also poor. Draw strategy can help maximize your chance of winning by knowing when to play through and when to fold.

Understanding draw strategy means understanding the order of winning hands. Here’s a handy chart showing winning hands in descending order as well as the odds that you’ll be dealt a specific hand.

Royal Flush 1 in 650,000
Straight Flush 1 in 72,200
Four of a Kind 1 in 4,200
Full House 1 in 700
Flush 1 in 510
Straight 1 in 250
Three of a Kind 1 in 48
Two Pair 1 in 21
One Pair 1 in 2.4
No Pair 1 in 2

Looking at the chart above, you can see that the more people around the table, the more likely it is that someone has a pair, a three of a kind, a straight, etc. Adapt your strategy to the number of players around your specific table. This means that if you’re dealt less than a pair, you should fold.

Another obvious point that many people miss–the better your opening hand, the better chance you have of improving it. It is much easier to turn a three of a kind into a full house than it is to turn nothing into a three of a kind.

Knowing When to Raise

There are a few specific times when raising or folding is the ONLY smart move.

For instance, you should be careful once two raises have been made in a single hand. Once a second raise occurs, you should only raise further for your biggest poker hands.

Think of it this way–if the game is pot-limited, at least one player will be “all in” after two raises. Another gem to keep in mind–after this many raises, your opponent is unlikely to fold. They simply have too much money riding on the outcome. To stay in a game after two raises, your hand better qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records.

You need to figure out whether your opponents are “tight” or “loose”. Loose players play more hands, but are less aggressive than tight players who latch onto a round of poker that they think they can win, but fold more often than not. Against so called tight players you need to be more aggressive — raise the pot as often as is feasible, take on a cocky persona, and do it all before the draw. When you’re playing against loose players, keep strong hands in play and fold weak hands–don’t bother bluffing too much with loose players, who will probably stay in the game no matter what shenanigans you pull off.

If you’re holding a hand that you aren’t sure about, fold. If on the other hand you have a decent play, but not the “sure win” kind of hands that lead to good cocky play, go ahead and make a huge raise or let it all go and fold. This works on two levels–you’re maximizing your win potential all the while you’re keeping your opponents guessing about your strategy. The danger with a mediocre hand is placing just a tiny raise–a small raise is easy to match, and you’ve just thrown your strategy out the window.

One Comment
  • Hello there! Awsome website! Does anyone know more resources on this topic?

    01-14-2012 2:18 am
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