Playing pairs in 5-Card Draw

    • VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 9,148
      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:

      :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.

  • 3 replies
    • bigpooch
      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
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 9,148
      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
      Joined: 05.02.2011 Posts: 430
      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.