Opponents playing their draws

One of the more common excuses I hear people use when explaining why they could not fold an overpair is that the board w...

Posted Sep 15, 2012


Bart Hanson BW2

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

One of the more common excuses I hear people use when explaining why they could not fold an overpair is that the board was “draw heavy’. These types of players are usually fooling themselves. The mere fact is that, especially at the lower levels, people do not play draws all that aggressively. Just because the flop contains a two suit does not mean that a player showing aggression against the preflop raiser has a flush draw.

Let’s take a look at an example. We raise under the gun in a $5-5 no limit game with $500 effective stacks to $20 with Q Q. Two mid position players call. The flop comes out 2 6 4. We bet $50, the next player folds and last to act raises to $200. This type of decision is really common in capped 100 big blind games. Players that transition from the internet will often convince themselves that the board is draw heavy and that their opponent can easily be making a semi bluff. They decide to go with the hand and are usually up against at least a fifteen out draw or are virtually drawing dead.

What these young players do not realize is that typical live players do not usually push draws that are not monster draws. Where online in a six max game you might see a player raise the above board with 9 8 you will not see that type of move with a “dry” flush draw in a normal live game. If we then can accurately deduce that our opponents’ range only consist of huge draws and made hands we then have to look at the amount of combinations of each that they can hold. Let’s say on that flop we give our opponent 5 7, A 5, A 4, 5 :4 and A 3. These draws all have at least 50% equity against our hand. Let’s also say that our opponent could have a set, top two or a flopped straight. There are three combinations of each set, 3, 6, and 4 for a total of nine. There are three combinations of 64 suited. There are also four combinations of 53 suited (hands that will call preflop). You can see that there are more than three times as many made hands as draws and those draws still have decent equity against us. The simple fact is that there will be many more combinations of made hands then draws, if said player is only pushing BIG draws (flush draw straight draws, pair plus flush draw etc).

Lastly and probably most important some players will NEVER raise with draws. You have to pay attention to what is going around you at the table. Let’s say we raise to $20 in a $5-$5 game with the same stack sizes but this time with A A. One older player, who we know will never flat big hands pre flop, calls. We also know that this player plays passively post flop and never pushes his draws. The flop comes out T 8 6. We bet out $35 and he raises to $165. What is the obvious play here? FOLD. There is really nothing that we can beat. If we were against a more aggressive type that might raise any flush draw or pair plus draw we may continue on to see what happens on the turn. But against this type of opponent we can be almost one hundred percent certain that we are up against a made hand.

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