Playing pairs in 5-Card Draw

    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 9,510
      If a player raises a pair, and then is called or raised, should they draw two or three?

      Although I always hate it when I chuck my A kicker, and draw another, I am solidly in the "Always draw 3" camp.

      Here is why:

      Example
      :Kx: :Ax: :Kx: :Qx: :4x:

      This hand is the 89th percentile -- only 11% of all hands beat it, so it is definitely worth a raise -- even from UTG
      In any later position, it is a huge favourite.

      Someone in later position, or in the blinds calls or 3-Bets
      Draw 3, keeping the Kings, or draw two, keeping the Ace?

      First, what can the other player have?
      Assuming we are UTG raising Kings, when we get called, the only sensible pair hand that can call is a pair of Aces. If that is the hand they hold, then keeping our Ace won't help us, because there is only one other, and the odds of hitting it are slim.

      Drawing 2 also won't convince anyone you have trips, since if you did, you would (or should) cap the pot, and you're not likely to want to do that with a pair of Kings.

      The most likely hand for a 3-better to have is two pair.
      So to beat two pair here are the odds:
      Drawing 3:
      Odds of making 2 pair: 5.26:1 -- and since you threw an Ace, the odds of opponent holding Aces up is reduced
      Odds of making trips: 7.75:1 -- will beat even his Aces up
      Odds of making either: 2.65:1
      If you add in full house and quads, the overall odds of improving a pair are 2.48:1

      If you draw 2:
      Odds of making 2 pair: 4.54:1 (slightly better than with no kicker)
      Odds of making trips: 11.87:1 (quite a bit worse than drawing 3)
      Odds of making either: 2.74:1 (worse, but not by a huge margin)

      So to get the best odds of improving, it seems that the best course of action is to draw 3 to a high pair when called or 3-Bet.

      There are some times when it might make sense to draw two to a pair:
      :diamond:   You hold :Ax: :Ax: :Kx: In this case, if you are reasonably sure that the opponent also has Aces (for example, opponent raised UTG and drew three) then the K ensures that if you are Aces vs Aces then you have top kicker.
      :diamond:   You want to disguise your hand or to represent trips
      :diamond:   You get limped to in the BB and have something like :2x: :2x: :Ax: Not much different than drawing 4, so it doesn't hurt to do this once in a while.

      Comments?
      VS;
  • 18 replies
    • bigpooch
      bigpooch
      Basic
      Joined: 16.01.2012 Posts: 44
      Yes, usually draw three to a pair. There's not much that can go wrong if you almost always draw three to a pair.

      Sometimes draw two to AAK (or AAQ) in certain heads up spots where the opponent is likely to have AA or KK as you mentioned. For you to do this, you'd also want to draw two to trips in those same spots as well as some rubbish hands like AKQ suited or AKJ suited. For example, if you open raise from the HIJ and get called by the SB who draws three, this would be a time to draw two to AAK; thus, you should also draw two to AKQ suited in this spot ( and maybe a hand like TTAKX where you may draw two to TTK ) and two to only a few trips hands such as 222AK (because you don't want to guess which kicker to keep).

      There are some rare spots where you don't draw three to your pair. For example, say you have 2s 2h Ad Kc 6c in the BB and a late position player limps ( say CUT/BTN) and you figure it's likely he has a pair like TT/JJ or even QQ (he may even have a draw). You simply draw to Ad Kc since your objective is to maximize equity against the limper's range, which means essentially to try to make KKA+ which is likely to win in a check down. Even if your opponent happened to be on a draw, there's virtually no difference in showdown equity between 22 and AK unimproved.

      About that 22A free play in the BB, it just depends, but it doesn't hurt to usually draw three to 22.
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 9,510
      Example
      A pack of feral cows chewed their cuds for .0043 seconds to convert this hand
      PokerStars Limit 5 Card Draw $0.10/$0.20 - 6 players

      UTG: $5.94
      UTG+1: $7.54
      CO: $3.86 (Hero)
      Button: $2.94
      SB: $2.18
      BB: $1.14

      Dealing Hands: ($0.15) :Ac: :9h: :4h: :2c: :Ad: (6 players)
      2 folds, Hero raises to $0.20, 2 folds, BB calls $0.10

      First Draw: ($0.45) (2 players)
      BB discards 2, Hero discards 3,
      :Ac: :Ad: || :7s: :9d: :Jh:
      BB checks, Hero checks

      Hero showed :Ac: :7s: :9d: :Jh: :Ad: , a pair of Aces
      BB showed :9s: :As: :Kc: :3s: :Ks: , a pair of Kings
      Hero won $0.43
      (Rake: $0.02)
    • Anykey444
      Anykey444
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.02.2011 Posts: 450
      Hi, nice to see you again at least here:f_thumbsup: . It'a a pity that you don't have time/passion for your blog anymore :f_cry:

      I didn't play 5CD for ages but as far as I remember if you somehow sure that you are playing against KK- doper and had small pair with A kicker it's better to draw 2 cards. Please check.
      GLGLGL
    • pahismail
      pahismail
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.01.2013 Posts: 85
      Royal flush : do not draw.
      Straight flush : do not draw.
      Four of kind : do not draw, looks amateur if "act" two pair when pot is capped?
      Fullhouse : do not draw.
      Flush : do not draw.
      Straight : do not draw.

      Here' the game :
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Three of kind : draw 2 cards.
      Two pair : draw 1 (+ open ended straight flush?).
      Pair : draw 3 cards. If you are on position with AAKQJ, you can bet second betting round too.
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      High card : do not play?

      It is simple. You need something stronger if you going to bluff your opponent and it is physical tell.

      - Juha
    • SDK1987
      SDK1987
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 12.11.2008 Posts: 33,520
      I would draw 1 card if I had 4 of a kind. This way your hand looks weaker than it is and the 5th card isn’t important anyway.
    • Harrier88
      Harrier88
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.05.2012 Posts: 2,008
      Yes, definitely draw 1 with quads. Drawing one could mean anything, including trash hands like busted straight/flush draws. So not only do you have an almost unbeatable hand, but you can also sell it as a weaker one to get more value without compromising your hand strength. A perfect situation.

      About the original question, my personal strategy was to always discard the kicker with a pair and always keep the kicker with trips and high cards. Therefore, I would only ever draw one or three cards with any hand, hopefully resulting in more polarized and less readable hand ranges.

      But I have heard recently in a couple of places that it was preferable to ditch the kicker with trips and draw 2 instead, in which case you'd probably want to throw in some instances where you draw 2 with a pair in order to be less readable.

      It's been a while since I've played 5CD, though.
    • pahismail
      pahismail
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.01.2013 Posts: 85
      I still won't draw 1 with quads, it is useless move and best strategy in your life is avoid meaningless moves. There's no two same quads so kicker no matter.

      - Juha
    • SDK1987
      SDK1987
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 12.11.2008 Posts: 33,520
      I don’t think it’s a meaningless move, because if you don’t draw it looks like you have strong made hand of at least a straight and if you draw 1 card you can represent 2 pair or a missed draw if you bet and then it’s likely you get more action and makes drawing 1 card a +EV move to me.
    • Harrier88
      Harrier88
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.05.2012 Posts: 2,008
      Yes, the problem with pat hands is that you only ever get value from other pat hands and bluff catchers who think you're snowing. Drawing 1 with quads gives you an excellent opportunity to under-sell your hand to get more value, and it would be absolutely crazy not to take advantage of it.
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 9,510
      Originally posted by pahismail
      Here' the game :
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Three of kind : draw 2 cards.
      Two pair : draw 1 (+ open ended straight flush?).
      Pair : draw 3 cards. If you are on position with AAKQJ, you can bet second betting round too.
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      High card : do not play?

      It is simple. You need something stronger if you going to bluff your opponent and it is physical tell.

      - Juha
      Hi All,
      Here are some alternatives
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Three of kind : draw 2 cards. draw 1 to disguise your hand so that it looks the same as two pair.
      Two pair : draw 1 (+ open ended straight flush?). Also draw 1 to 4-flush or OESD if you have pot odds.
      Pair : draw 3 cards. If you are on position with AAKQJ, you can bet second betting round too. vs 1 player perhaps -- vs two or more there is > 50% chance someone else's pair improved
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      High card : do not play? In SB AQxxx is higher than 50% of all hands. Raise this pre-draw, and draw 3 if called.

      The above depends on who has opened before you, and what your position is, and assumes playing fixed limit cash games.

      Also important is whether you open with a raise, and with what hands and from what positions.

      5-Card Draw is a great game!

      Best of luck,
      VS
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 9,510
      Originally posted by VorpalF2F
      Here are some alternatives
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Three of kind : draw 2 cards. draw 1 to disguise your hand so that it looks the same as two pair.
      Here's an illustration of what I mean:
      The villain is very tight, especially from early positions -- vs some players I might 3Bet Queens up.
      If he draws one, I might just call post-draw, since he never raises draws -- not that I've seen anyway.
      So he has two pair or better.

      Feral Cow Poker
      PokerStars Limit 5 Card Draw $0.10/$0.20 - 6 players

      CO: $3.06
      Button: $12.28 (Hero)
      SB: $1.09
      BB: $0.59
      UTG: $4.42
      UTG+1: $1.21

      Dealing Hands: ($0.15) :2c: :Qs: :2s: :Qh: :6d: (6 players)
      UTG folds, UTG+1 raises to $0.20, CO folds, Hero calls $0.20, 2 folds

      First Draw: ($0.55) (2 players)
      UTG+1 discards 2, <== He is not keeping a kicker with a pair, since he almost never draws to a pair in early positions
      Hero discards 1,
      :2c: :Qs: :2s: :Qh: || :4s:
      UTG+1 bets $0.20, Hero folds

      UTG+1 collected $0.53

      (Rake: $0.02)

      Maybe not a perfect example, but it does the job.

      Cheers,
      VS
    • SDK1987
      SDK1987
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 12.11.2008 Posts: 33,520
      It looks like a good example to me that he has 3 of a kind here most of the time.
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 9,510
      Originally posted by SDK1987
      It looks like a good example to me that he has 3 of a kind here most of the time.
      Yup -- if he had drawn one, I might possibly have called.


      VS
    • Anykey444
      Anykey444
      Bronze
      Joined: 05.02.2011 Posts: 450
      My question is here >>Hero discards 1,
      You are in position and you know he has trips. In case you had Aces up, you definitely should discard 3 to increase probability to beat trips below your higher pair.
      Median trips is 888, and in your case it's also about 888.
      So I am not sure what to do with QQ22 as verses AAA and KKK it's better to draw 1. Rather simple math but don't have time at the moment.
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 9,510
      Originally posted by Anykey444
      My question is here >>Hero discards 1,
      You are in position and you know he has trips. In case you had Aces up, you definitely should discard 3 to increase probability to beat trips below your higher pair.
      Median trips is 888, and in your case it's also about 888.
      So I am not sure what to do with QQ22 as verses AAA and KKK it's better to draw 1. Rather simple math but don't have time at the moment.
      Thanks for the reminder.
      For some reason, I rarely remember to do that!

      Cheers,
      VS
    • pahismail
      pahismail
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.01.2013 Posts: 85
      Two pair is money.

      - Juha
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 9,510
      Originally posted by pahismail
      Two pair is money.
      - Juha
      Small two pair is trouble, though.

      Against another player drawing one, you are very likely drawing nearly dead (11:1 against making a full house) and even if not, you beat only bluffs if villain bets.

      All the best,
      VS
    • pahismail
      pahismail
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.01.2013 Posts: 85
      Usual.