In any poker game be it free online poker or cash game, a backdoor draw is a draw missed on the Flop but made on the Turn. In this free poker article you’ll learn by way of examples how to best play backdoor draws.
Backdoor Draw Example
Lets say you have 8-7 and the flop comes 5-A-J. You have no Straight draw because two cards are needed to complete.
But if a 4, a 6 or a 9 falls on the Turn, you have a backdoor Straight draw which you can hope on the river. If you complete your Straight on the river then you have a backdoor Straight (you can also have made hands like backdoor Flushes or Trips or Full Houses, by the way) 918kiss.
Suppose we have 8-7 and the flop comes 5-A-J. Normally, when we don’t have anything on the Flop which will improve on the Turn into a complete hand, we fold.
But how about if you check and a conservative opponent decides to check his, say, A-10 or A-9? Then you check, too (just as normally). When the Six (or Four or Nine) still doesn’t come then our options are to just retreat or bluff.
But you can also call in this situation. Suppose the pot is 200 (blinds 10-20), only two of us are in the pot, and he is first to act and bets only 25. The bet will swell the pot size to 225, and we are getting 9-to-1 on a call here.
We might as well call, so we can get a chance at even just a draw.
Also, it is possible that when he bet his 25 he may be trying to push you out of the pot with a very small bluff but it doesn’t change matters. Just call so you can have a chance at a backdoor draw.
And, note, don’t show you are a weak player by folding to a bunk bluff. Folding in a 500 pot after a 30 bet? Now that’s not just cowardice. It’s senselessness.
When the Six, Four or Nine comes up, now is the time to figure out whether we shall still continue. Usually we hope that he plays conservatively and we hit our free Straight on the river.
Back to the above situation: How about if at the already 250 pot, he bets 200? Fold. 100? Fold, or call, if you feel like calling.
For a gutshot draw we are about 11-to-1 hitting our Straight; for an up-and-down Straight draw, about 5 1/2-to-1. So if he bets 100, the pot is 350, and on a call we get 3 1/2-to-1.
It may still not be the right price, but if you feel like calling, call the 100 bet if it’s up-and-down. Fold it if it’s gutshot. 50 or lower? We get 6-to-1 (300 pot, 50 to call); so the pot odds are advantageous for an up-and-down Straight draw, so just call. Not quite for a gutshot.
But you can also call like, you’re representing A-K and you can make a move on the river.
Now, if you hit your Straight on the river, play aggressively. Usually he will put you on a made hand one the Flop (maybe your “weak” call indicated that you have second Pair, say, J-10 or even third Pair, such as if you have K-5 or Q-5; or even a Broadway draw with K-Q or Q-10)
But we completed a Straight that contains the Eight and the Seven, and he has hardly any clue about it! Why? Because you called on the Flop, and unless he is a strong player and knows about it, that call may indicate a made hand! If he bets, raise (maybe a raise for value that will not scare him off), or if he checks, bet large.
If it doesn’t work out
If you don’t hit your Straight, surrender. (Or, it may be that on the Turn, you called with the intention of representing A-K and then making a move on the river. Just play this fast, and only if you can afford it.) If it’s a small bet, you can call, but with the intention of getting information only. Muck as fast as you can.
That is, if you decide to chase a backdoor draw; if, for example, you have the chips to afford it. In general, don’t chase cards. Chasing is the favorite pastime of losing poker players (maybe next to tilting).
Or don’t pursue a backdoor draw with the intention of chasing. Usually you should be on the offensive by bluffing; on the above example, he may even fold the A-10 if he checked and you bet substantially. Just treat the Straight as angel’s grace.