Poker strategy has a lot of complexities that keep it interesting. While beginners can quickly learn the basics, mastering poker can take a lifetime. Even with supercomputers, only the most basic variants of poker like pot limit heads-up Texas Holdem have been “solved.” Some reasons for this strategic depth include position, player playstyles, and stack size, which all vary from game to game, resulting in near-infinite possibilities.
One of the biggest things that keep poker interesting is the hands you get. Betting and anticipating the cards on the turn and river make poker tense and exciting, whether played or watched. As the game has evolved over the years, poker players have figured out the best strategies for every possible kind of hand. This poker guide will focus on an often overlooked kind of hand in poker: The Backdoor Draw. It will explain what it is and give tips on how to play it well.
Drawing hands in poker
A drawing hand in poker is a hand that is currently weak but has the potential to improve through the extra cards on the turn and river. Normally, drawing hands require one more card to complete, the most prominent examples being straight and flush draws. For example, if the flop shows a nine, a four, and an eight while you hold a seven and a ten, you have a straight draw. You can draw either a six or a jack to complete your straight, and that is known as an open-ended straight draw. You have eight specific cards to complete your straight, known as “outs.”
Gutshot straight draws are when you have four specific cards that can complete your straight, as you need a middle card. That gives you half the number of outs as an open-ended straight draw, making it less likely for you to complete the straight. Finally, backdoor draws are the weakest drawing hand, as you need to draw two cards instead of the usual one. That makes it highly unlikely for you to complete your hand, but that does not mean they are useless.
Advantages of backdoor draws
Backdoor draws have two main advantages compared to regular drawing hands and air. The first is that backdoor draws are much more disguised than regular draws, making it easier to get paid off when you make a hand. For example, you hold a six and a seven on a board of eight, nine, and jack. Your opponents can see the board too, and if they realize how connected it is, they will likely fold to any value bets if they do not have a good hand themselves. The board’s high connectivity means someone may have their own straight and beat you thanks to a higher card.
Backdoor draws are harder to complete, but they will be much less expected than a standard draw. The second is that backdoor flush draws have slightly more equity than their regular counterparts. While this may not come into play as often, being able to call instead of fold with a backdoor flush draw not only gives you a chance at hitting the draw, it can set you up for better bluffs if the board is good for you.
Backdoor draw tips
Many players write off backdoor draws and do not use them. That is a mistake; knowing how to and when to play different hands in poker is a necessary skill for getting better. Sometimes, you just have to play what you get, and backdoor draws are certainly not unplayable. With that in mind, here are several tips to ensure your backdoor draw success:
Where to play poker
We hope this article taught you how to make the most out of all your poker hands. To practice playing them, you should check out GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room. Online poker is more convenient and faster-paced, meaning you will play more hands and backdoor draws than physical poker. Online poker also gives you access to poker tracking software, which analyzes your gameplay to find patterns and highlight weaknesses.