Think about what you want to accomplish when you flop a pair and a flush draw
It is interesting how different types of players take different lines with draws. Some guys play them incredibly fast, pounding money into the pot whenever they have at least nine outs. Others take a more passive route and just call until they make their hand. Just like anything in poker one size does not fit all. In these situations it really depends on the board texture, stack sizes, position, fold equity etc. to figure out the most profitable approach to playing a draw.
One interesting scenario to examine where taking a passive or aggressive line may both be correct is specifically having a pair and a flush draw. In some situations you can really drive the hand for maximum fold equity especially if the board is raggedy and you do not think that a preflop raiser can take a lot of heat. In other situations, however, it may be perfectly correct to check and call as you may not have the fold equity needed to make an aggressive play profitable or more importantly you might be in a way ahead way behind scenario.
I played in one of these situations a few days ago at the Commerce casino in Los Angeles. The game was $5-$10 and my opponent was playing extremely aggressively preflop but had little awareness postflop similar to a lot of out of town players that come through during the major tournament series, the LAPC. In this hand I called a solid player’s open from middle position in the small blind with K♣ Q♣. to $40, $2000 effective. The villain in the hand was in the big blind and he reraised to $185. The original raiser quickly folded and I decided to call. This was something I rarely did in the past with a hand like K♣ Q♣ but I had noticed that the player in the big blind was incredibly wide in his preflop action and he did not play well post flop. I also thought I had decent immediate equity versus his three betting range.
The flop came out pretty strong for me in the form of A♣ K♦ 5♣ giving me middle pair and a flush draw. Now, some of us might think that this is an absolute monster flop as we have fourteen outs to improve to better than one pair. A lot of guys would play for “stacks” here wanting to get all the money in on the flop. However, if we do an examination of this board texture is fastplaying this draw really the right play? I also want to mention the fact that I did not think that this particular villain was capable of folding top pair as I had seen him make some really poor calls earlier in the session.
Let us examine all of the options. If he had nothing and we went for a check raise, he simply would have folded. If he had at least an ace he would definitely call our raise. If he had nothing we would have such a hammer lock on the hand we would not want him to fold. And if he actually had a legitimate hand like AK+ we may fair to get reriased on the flop. Following this logic I was happy to just call his $150 bet.
The turn brought out the 3♥ giving me no help. I checked again and this time he bet larger, $375, which I called. The river fell an off suit 9♦ and at this point I hoped that would check giving up on a bluff. Unfortunately for me he did not oblige and bet $800. I decided to fold. He then triumphantly tabled AA for top set.
I was pretty pleased that I realized that this was not the type of board to go crazy versus a three betting range with my pair and flush draw. If the board had come out 567♠♠ and I had had A♠6♠, especially against a single raise preflop I would have played a pair and a flush draw much more fast as the board would have favored to hit my range and would have put maximum pressure on an overpair. But here, as you can see, not all pair plus flush draws are equal.