Drawing Hands in Poker Tournaments

Draws come in all sorts of varieties and should be played differently based on the point you are at in a tournament. Many new players do not understand where and when they should be making certain plays. Hitting the miracle card for amateurs is a very negative thing as it causes them to think that they made the correct play when in reality they will go broke if they continue to make that play with a draw.

Draws in the Early Stages of a Tournament

You can play the early stages of tournaments in two different ways in regard to draws, and this depends on the type of tournament you are playing.

Small Tournaments and Rebuys

In small buy-in tournaments and rebuys it is advantageous to make plays with draws in the attempt to build up as many chips as possible. This type of "crazy" play should not be made with straight draws, but in many cases it is not a bad option to try and win a huge pot with a flush draw. Of course you should be getting your money in on the flop and you should not be calling huge bets on the turn when there is only one card to come.

Also, it is generally a good idea to raise most bets with flush draws in this position rather than calling which will leave you with less control over the hand. One thing to be aware of and to stay away from is getting your money in with a low flush draw as you could be drawing dead if your opponent calls with a higher flush draw.

Having two over cards such as AK of spades against pocket Eights on a 2s-4s-7d flop makes you almost even money or even ahead going into the turn card. Many players think that all four card flushes are the same, but it truly makes a huge difference if you can add six more outs to your hand. A situation where a low flush draw is acceptable is when you have a straight draw as well. This is just another option giving you more outs and making your hand stronger.

Big Tournaments (No Rebuys)

In no-rebuy and more expensive tournaments, it is important to stay away from getting your money all-in on a draw. Especially in deep stack tournaments where you have a lot of big blinds and should not be forced to move all-in on a draw. In these cases, you should be making calls or you can lead out on draws in order to win pots postflop. Making calls and turning your draw into a made hand is another strong play, but be aware that missing too many draws while calling bets will leave your stack short.

Draws in the Middle Stages of a Tournament

The middle stage of a tournament is when you are getting close to the money and players are beginning to play tight. At this stage you can take advantage of players by leading out with draws and hopefully taking the pot.

If you have a short stack, playing draws is out of the question as you should be trying to double up with a made hand preflop. If you have an average or large stack, you should be taking full advantage of this tight play. That means leading out and re-raising with draws. The one play that should be looked down upon is simply calling a small-mid stacks bet with a draw. This could cause your big stack to turn into a small one very quickly. Depending on the type of stack and the draw that you have, folding is also an option at this point as many players will have big hands if they are betting a large amount near the bubble.

Drawing in the Late Stages of a Tournament

After making the money, draws will become more appropriate as you should be trying to accumulate as many chips as possible going into the final table. Realize that other players will also be playing draws at this point so your low flush draw may have you living on the edge against an ace high flush draw. Some players think they should play crazy at this point, but draws should still be put into consideration and not played too crazy.

As a big stack, it is still appropriate to lead out with draws, but now realize that the small-mid stacks do not fear you nearly as much and they will come over the top with top pair for example. Pushing players around will be tougher, so you will need to make other moves as well. Vice versa as a small stack- you need to build a big stack in order to go deeper in the tournament, so it is now time to make plays with a draw and become aggressive.

Many players like having a mid stack so they can continue to play their normal game of making some plays on a draw, but not too many. The thing to remember with draws is you should always be counting your outs and percentages before making any sudden moves.

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