Poker Articles: Deal With A Dangerous Draw

How do you cope with a dangerous draw? Let's have a look at one in a hypothetical game, then analyze its outcome. The setting:

- Texas Hold 'Em tournament
- No-Limit blinds are $800-$1,600
- Antes are $200

Three of the nine players seated are:
- Yana -- Seat 2 -- Chip count of $77,000
- Chris -- Seat 5 -- Chip count of $110,700
- Roger (button) -- Seat 7 - Chip count of $54,200

Seat 1: Fold

Seat 2: Yana -- A A
"Pocket Aces, sweet! But I'm in an early position. If I raise too much, then everyone may fold, and I'll win only the blinds and antes. If I raise too little, then cheap hands may come in and beat me with a draw. I need to raise just enough to thin the field, but get one or two callers to build a decent pot. Also, pocket aces look beautiful now, but the flop may be ugly. I can love this hand, but I don't need to marry it. Let's be careful."

Seats 3 and 4: Fold

Seat 5: Chris -- 8 8
"Yana is coming in with a medium-sized raise from early position. I don't think she's bluffing; I think she has big cards. If it's a big pair then I'm probably screwed, but if she has big slick (A-K) or some other non-pair, then maybe I can beat her. My chip lead is fairly large, so I can afford a loose call here, and maybe if the flop doesn't hit her, then I can take the pot. And there's always the possibility that I'll flop a set. Okay, I'm in. Should I re-raise to isolate Yana? No. Her raise will probably fold the players behind me. Besides, I may not like the flop. Let's not get too invested at this point."

Chris calls to $7,000.

Seat 6: Fold

Seat 7: Roger -- K Q
"I have a suited hand in a good position, but my stack is shrinking. I need to win soon. I'm going to call and hope nobody raises from the blinds."

Roger calls to $7,000.

Seats 8 and 9 (small blind and big blind): Fold

Pot: $25,200
The flop falls at A 8 T

Yana -- A A
"I just flopped trips! Yes! I have the best hand. The only thing I fear is a flush draw... and maybe a gutshot straight. Maybe someone came in with an oddball hand like pocket 9s and one of them is a spade. I don't want to be killed by a runner-runner. I need to make a big bet and take the pot now. On the other hand, I don't want to go all in if one of my opponents is a crazy optimist. He might call an all-in bet and win on a draw. I should play it smart and bet less than my whole stack."

Yana bets $20,000.

Chris -- 8 8 "Youch! I just flopped trips, and now I'm facing a big bet. If Yana has pocket Aces or pocket 10s then I'm nearly drawing dead. On the other hand, her raise pre-flop and bet here might mean that she's playing K-K, Q-Q or J-J, and just representing an Ace. Another possibility is that she has A-K, or some other hand with an Ace that I can beat. And what about Roger? If I call here, and he goes all in (for whatever reason), then what would I do? Something about this hand doesn't feel right. Let's see if I can salvage it with a strong raise. I hope everyone folds."