MCU poker tip: Hold ’em, open-end straight draws

One of the key decisions in hold ’em is whether to call a bet on the flop when you have an open-end straight draw. Often you should. But when it’s close, you need to consider other things.

Considerations

Here are three things to consider:

  1. If there are two suited cards on the flop, you’re somewhat more likely to be beat by a flush, even if you make your straight. This can often turn a hand that would otherwise be slightly profitable (with three different suits flopping) into one that’s slightly unprofitable.
  2. If there is a pair on the flop, you’re somewhat more likely to be beat by a full house or four of a kind, even if you make your straight. This, too, can often turn a hand that would otherwise be slightly profitable into one that is slightly unprofitable.
  3. Is your extra card high in rank? When a single card provides the open-end straight possibility (such as a flop of 9-7-6 when you hold K-8), the rank of that extra card is important You want an additional chance of making a pair big enough to win. Ace is best, of course. You won’t often play hands that give you the opportunity to flop a small straight attempt with an unrelated extra card, but when you do, the rank of the extra card should often be the deciding factor.
So…

When whether to call with an open-end straight attempt is a close decision, you can use the three factors above to break the tie. — MC

Published by

Mike Caro

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mikecaro FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/caro.mike Known as the "Mad Genius of Poker," Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority of poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full biography at Poker1.com.

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