Just because you raise with a combo draw does not mean that you will necessarily get the right price to call off your stack vs your opponents’ range—especially in multi-way pots.
Playing a draw correctly is often times one of the most misunderstood concepts in no limit holdem. Some times players fall into a check calling shell when they will not get paid off and others play their draws far too aggressively when they have no fold equity.
Nowadays even the newest players to the game understand that having a hand with at least 12 outs usually contains decent equity versus one pair. That means that if you have even a hint of fold equity playing a big draw fast and strong can be profitable. However, just because you raise a combo draw does not mean that you have to call off the rest of your stack, especially when a pot involves multiple players.
One of the worst situations that you can find yourself in holdem is when you get involved in spot versus someone with a made hand and someone who has a draw that dominates your own. That is a recipe for having extremely low equity almost to the point where you can be drawing dead. I saw the following hand happen at the Hollywood Park Casino last week in Los Angeles.
The game was $5-$10 uncapped and the stacks were very deep. This game usually plays bigger than a game with a $1000 or $1500 stack but people do not necessarily know how to play any better deeper. In this particular hand everyone hand about $2500 and the under the gun raised to $45. Four people in the field called including the big blind. The flop came out T♠ 9♠ 2♣ and the preflop raiser made a continuation bet of $150. At this point I started to pay close attention because I knew that the preflop raiser must have had something that he perceived to be strong, most likely an overpair but at minimum a high flush draw. The next player to act to his immediate left raised his bet to $450. At this time I am going to reveal that his hand was 7♠ 8♠, for the bottom end of an open-ended straight flush draw. Much to my amazement the next player moved all-in for $2400 and the player behind him snap shoved his $2500 stack into the middle. Then the action got back to the preflop raiser who tanked for a long time. It looked like he was trying to evaluate the size of the pot. Adding some numbers aloud softly he finally made the call. The player who started with the flop aggression instantly put the rest of his $2500 stack in and the hands were turned over. The preflop raiser had A♠ J♠, the player to the left of the under the gun +1 had K♠ Q♠ and the player closing the action had a set of 9s.
Now many of you probably think that this should be an insta-call from the straight flush draw getting over 3-1 on their money, right? But to take an important theory from PLO when you are in a multiway pot and you suspect that someone has a made hand AND also think that someone else can be drawing better than you you can be in huge trouble. In this case the 7♠ 8♠ hand had only about 13% equity in the hand. The player with K♠ Q♠ is even in worse shape than that. Because he is also up against a dominating draw but is not open ended his equity is less than 10%.
Now obviously you cannot know exactly what your opponent’s hold but you have to take this type of thing into consideration when you get heat coming back over the top of a raise you make with a combo draw—especially when you specifically put someone on a set and another player on a better draw.