Running after every single wild poker board is a great way to end up losing your entire bankroll and having to start from scratch. We’ve had to do it a few times, and it’s really not a picnic for anyone. You start feeling like it’s the end of the world, when there are really so many different ways to play this wonderful world of poker. Listen: there are times that you will refuse to chase the board and get what you needed for a great hand. Other hands will disappoint you though, and you’ll be really glad that you didn’t chase.
Is there a right time to go after these straights and flushes, two types of hands that can leave you walking away with the pot? Yes, there absolutely are.
Let’s set up the board. Let’s say that you have 2-3-4-6. In this case, you need the five in order to make your hand. This is what poker people refer to as a “gutshot” straight draw, because you really need to be precise. The odds for getting the inside straight are roughly 16.47% on the flop. But if you only have the inside draw after the turn, your odds go down to 8.70%.
You also have to add in board pressures. If other players have better hands and they raise, then you’re pretty much going to end up pot committed if you don’t look at your odds.
But what if you have an open ended straight draw, like 3-4-5-6? You could get either the 2 or the 7, and be just fine. If you have an open ended straight draw, you need to raise. Don’t just call or check, because you’re signaling to the board that you’re weak. Poker players love weakness, because it allows them to tear another player apart and take their sweep, sweet chips. So if you’re going to stick around for an open ended draw and try to play it out to the end, you need to make some relatively small bets along the way. You don’t have to slam the board with a fat bet, but you do need to signal that you may have something.
Learning when to go after the draws will help you manage your bankroll and your basic poker strategy. Will this mean that you’re never going to have to reevaluate? Of course not. There may be times where you really do want to chase after a draw, and we certainly can’t stop you. If anything, we’re just trying to make you a little more aware of the different ways to play.