Roll like the Pros in Poker Tourneys, Cash Games and Sit & Go's
It has been noted that a straight draw is arguably one of the hardest hands to get in poker. The vast majority of players typically overplay a straight draw – it can make for a monster hand and lots of cash is up for grabs, but it's also possible to lose your entire bankroll chasing a straight draw. The truth of the matter is, if you flop a straight draw, you have 6 outs – the cards that you have available to hit a winning hand – with the basic odds of hitting these around 30%, depending on the number of players at your table.
It is wise practice to take into consideration that when you're holding a straight draw, you should always be aware of how big the chip stack is in front of you, as well as how big the blinds are and how other players are playing a game. Ask yourself the following question: how much am I willing to wager? Another factor to take into account would be what type of game you are playing – a Cash Game or a Sit & Go.
Sit & Go Games versus Tournament Play
A straight draw can be a terrific hand in a single table Sit & Go, in a multi-way pot. There is a great deal of potential to make a lot of money when the blinds are low at the inception stages of a tournament. The expert poker tutorials and guides will punt the idea of playing a very tight game early on, as well as chasing down draws when the blinds are low, with the opportunity to hit those big hands with a low risk (low outlay). As the tournament wears on, when high blinds come into play relative to stack size, the small ball approach is advised. It's best to check the draw, or call a small bet, but not to go broke chasing a futile draw. Consider playing aggressively, when you are the chip leader and you have a tremendous advantage over your opponents in terms of chip stack. It is advisable to move your small stakes all-in, when your opponents bet (sort of like a semi-bluff because the action is on them and if you get called, there are plenty of live outs for you).
What about Cash Games?
This is an altogether different prospect for players. When you play a straight draw in a cash game, it's more about making a read on your opponent and how they play their hands than it is about anything else. A central question is the following: how much are you willing to gamble? Remember, that the blinds never change and the stack size makes little to no difference when you play cash games. The goal of course is to bring in as many players as possible (taking all their cash) and stealing the show. Have you ever noticed how so many poker players will aggressively buy into cash games and be super aggressive against shorter stacks, because they don't know how to change their game? Get your bull's-eye out because these are the types of players that you want to target. These guys will bet most Flops and scare off most of the competition. A great strategy against these types of players is to bet small, play small ball and flat call and see another card. If you hit, you'll most likely double your cash because of their aggression. A caveat is in order: always watch your opponents before you make a decision to punt.
The Basic Tenets of Straight Draw Philosophy
Always remember to play the players and not necessarily your cards. Keep track of how other players are playing at your table, and watch the live betting habits. All of this should be done against the backdrop of a keen eye on your chip stack. In tournaments, don't go chasing a draw with one card to come when you are still able to fold and make a comeback. The risk/reward ratio should always be in your favour: never bet into the pot more than it is worth. Bear in mind that an open-ended straight typically gets around 3 times out of 10 and the betting odds are lower for an inside straight draw.