After The Triple Draw

Phil Shaw continues his look at improving your triple draw game by focusing on ?the intricacies of post-draw play

Pre-draw play in 2-7 triple draw is important as the hands you draw to here will often determine how smooth or rough the hands you end up making on later streets will be. Pre-draw actions will determine how complex your post-draw decisions will be. Drawing at smooth hands is usually preferable, unless you are in late position or the big blind, since making second best hands can be very expensive in triple draw. The reverse implied odds of not having certain cards as outs because they will give you straights or because other players already have them is a massive disincentive for playing rough hands.

After the first draw, your decisions are usually quite easy assuming you have drawn smooth, and you will usually want to call and draw again if you don’t improve. The bet size after the first draw is still the same as on the pre-draw round and since there will often be a raise and re-raise pre-draw you will be getting odds to call unless the pot is small, you face multiple bets or have a very weak hand. Only if your hand was very weak and rough or you were drawing three and didn’t improve should you think about folding here.

In triple draw you should almost always bet if you were ahead in the previous draw. If there are two players drawing the least number of cards usually the last one should be left to bet, and if the draw is even whoever improves usually bets. When you improve to drawing less cards than the bettor you can automatically check-raise, although you shouldn’t usually bet or check-raise when drawing the same number of cards since your hand is never that much of a favourite and may be behind.

Generally if you are in a multi-way pot and improve to a one-card draw or better you should also try to knock out other players by raising another player’s bet, or at least charge players drawing more cards than you.

Drawing Smooth

You still want to be drawing fairly smooth most of the time and trying to make sevens and eights since there are still two draws to come after this one. There are exceptions to this rule, such as when you have raised with a rough nine draw like 4-5-6-9 and hit or have made a nine draw against a player drawing three when you are heads-up.

Assuming your draw was fairly smooth to start with, this will make your decisions pretty straightforward, since you can just keep any cards that improve you to an eight draw or better, or to a good three-card hand if you started out with 2-3, 2-4, 2-5 or 2-7. If you make a pat hand, you should be putting in multiple bets until it becomes clear that another player might be pat with a better hand. If you run into a better pat hand you might break a weak 8-7 with a good draw beneath it like 2-3-6-7-8 or call down with a weaker 8-6 like 2-4-5-6-8.

With stronger hands you will usually want to see multiple bets go in on future streets before you slow down, and you should consider how many cards your opponents have drawn before going pat to help determine their possible hand strength too.

Second Draw

After the second draw the bets double, so you have to make some decisions about how to continue. Generally, if you have not improved to a one-card draw you will fold. You will usually need to fold even a strong one-card draw facing a bet and a raise as you may potentially have to pay three to four bets in total to draw again. As we have seen, who bets first is decided by the number of cards drawn on the previous round and so you should let this be the starting point for the action. If the draw is even then you can lead out to avoid missing value.

Because of the structure of the game, the bettor at this point will usually be drawing one or pat, and so you should mainly be raising or check-raising him when you are pat yourself. There is not enough value in raising when drawing one to knock out a weaker player, or trying to make the bettor break a weak pat hand, as most one-card draws run very close in equity.

One unusual play you can make to mix things up a bit when heads-up and both players have drawn two is to check-raise your pat hands out of position. Your opponent will often bet when checked to with a wide range, assuming you will often fold. 

At this stage, you can usually draw at most one-card draws even when your opponent is already pat unless they are very weak and the pot is small. And you should remember that if you drew two previously, your opponent will often have bet when still drawing allowing you to draw wider sometimes too.

In terms of what hands to pat with after the second draw, much will depend on the previous drawing action, the betting and the number of players in the pot. Triple draw players learn early on that a Jack is a favourite against a player drawing one and a 9 is favourite against two players drawing one. You should be more inclined to break a Jack unless the pot is large or your draw is rough.

Staying Put

Knowing when to pat against draws is fairly straight-forward. For example, if you are heads-up and make a 9 when both players have drawn one you can bet and pat if checked to, or bet first and pat if not raised. Similarly, if your opponent is drawing one and you are drawing two and you make a 9 you face an automatic raise or check-raise since he will always bet his one-card draws.

One other play you should make when both players have drawn previously heads-up is to freeze an opponent with a mid-range hand like 8-7 or 9-6 by only calling a bet or check-raise and patting behind. They will often pat a worse hand – the value gained from them not drawing is greater than that if you get one extra bet but they draw.

Multi-way, the same principles apply so if everyone draws one and checks you can bet and pat a 9 easily. But watch out for situations where you can raise a marginal pat hand to achieve multiple goals, for example when the draw goes one/two/two and you make a 9 or 10 second to act and the first player bets. Similarly, if you are first to act with a 10 you might also bet out and pat if one player folds and the other calls.

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