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playing draws aggressively or passively at 2-5 and lower?

reedmylipsreedmylips Posts: 1,146Subscriber
edited November -1 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
To everyone,

Bart just mentioned in today's show (Macau III) about how in the lower limits, most people just aren't playing draws aggressively. I also find that to be true.

Bart also always touts comments like, "You should do xyz, because nobody else in the player pool does that, so when you do it, it looks like abc." Like raising a donk bet OTF for instance with a one-pair hand (like TPGK or an overpair) and betting turn and river. Or betting medium-strength hands on the river for value on scary boards, where the rest of the player pool would check back and only bet monsters and bluffs.

So my question is this:

If players don't play their draws aggressively at the lower limits, and we should be doing the opposite of what the player pool does, does that mean we should be playing our draws aggressively? Usually, I play draws fairly passively, because I play in 100bb-cap games, and I feel that there is not (usually) enough fold equity in a raised pot to, let's say, bet/3-bet the flop in a single-raised pot from the BB with a draw (OESD, nut flush draw, pair and a gutshot, etc.). I almost always check/call (or if in position, call) the PFR c-bet with my draws, and wait to either make my hand, or, if the PFR slows down, I may choose to semi-bluff the turn (if in position).

Should I be mixing in more aggressive lines with draws at the 2-5 and lower limits, or is that spewy?

Thank you for your comments.


  • shmed Posts: 321Subscriber
    I remember that Bart had a nice discussion in DPP (I believe the episode was called draws). I think the answer is situational and if you don't think you have the FE equity or ability to represent a strong hand in a particular situation, you are probably better off calling when you have odds or folding.

    It's generally easier to have the proper FE with deeper stacks and at higher stakes. I do think you should look for opportunities to be aggressive with those draws at 2-5 and there are probably less of those spots.

    I love representing draws in position by calling, and betting when the scare card comes in, whether it be the flush draw, the A overcard, or less commonly the straight one-liner, when I think that the better has a vulnerable top-pair type hand. I find this to be a very effective lower variance approach.
  • For me this depends on a number of factors. Obviously the number one factor is fold equity. Is this someone who can never get away from TPGK? If so, calling is best. That type of player will probably pay you off when you hit your draw anyway. There's no need to put the money in when you're behind. Even though there's not a ton of information on the flop, hand reading matters here a lot. What does their flop bet size tell you about the strength of their hand? Their preflop line?

    *In position vs. out of position.* Against a lot of villains, I'm more likely to play draws fast in position. I will raise the flop, hoping for a fold. But if they don't fold, then they'll often check the turn, and I can take a free river card if I don't think that there's fold equity for a barrel on the turn. Out of position, it can be uncomfortable if they call the flop and you don't get there on the turn. And most of the time, you won't get there.

    *Type of draw.* I'm more likely to play flush draws fast and straight draws slow. If my straight comes in, it won't be as obvious, and it will be easier to get paid. If it's a two-tone flop and I have a straight draw, I can also represent the flush card, since my flop call looks a lot like a flush draw. Obviously if it's a huge combo draw and we're only 100BB deep, then I'm almost always just stacking off (although if we're deeper, then I'm more careful).

    *Board Texture.* Some boards are better for barreling than others. If it's the board is 852 with two clubs, there are going to be a lot of scary cards on the turn if the villain calls your flop raise with an 8 or a hand like 99, 77, 66, etc. You can continue to bluff an off-suit high card on the turn. On low flops you're also less likely to get paid off if you play your hand slow and then make your flush with an A of clubs or a K of clubs. On the other hand, if the board is something like AQ2, then there are fewer scare cards to your villain's flop calling range. So you're more likely to get paid off if you make your flush, and you're less likely to have fold equity with a scare card on the turn that doesn't make your hand.

    *Possible additional equity.* On some flops I'll have a chance to pick up additional equity on the turn, even if I miss my draw. I'm more likely to play those flops fast. So, for example, if I have 7h8h on a Jh6h2c board, then I have nine outs to make my flush, six "outs" (the three off-suit 5s and three off-suit 9s) to make an open-ended straight draw, and three "outs" to make a gutshot (the three off-suit 10s). I'm more likely to play that flop fast, since there will be more barreling opportunities on the turn.
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