There are several different types of straight draws:

  • Open-ended using both your hole cards. Gives you 8 outs.
  • Open-ended using one of your hole cards. Gives you 8 outs.
  • Gut-shot using both of your hole cards. Gives you 4 outs.
  • Gut-shot using one of your hole cards. Gives you 4 outs.

Straight draws are strong in Limit Hold’em since they usually pay off well when they hit. They are more difficult for your opponents to detect than flush draws but they are also more difficult to play. A lot of players generally go too far with their straight draws and lose a lot of money because of this.

The strongest straight draw is when it’s open-ended and both your hole cards are involved. When only one hole card is used the straight possibility is very obvious to your opponents and someone else might already have flopped a straight. They also pay less since the action is likely to dry up when a fourth straight card hits. Bluffing might be a good idea if you’re facing weak or tight players. Strong opponents will suspect a bluff in a situation like this.

Gut-shot straight draws are obviously not as strong as open-ended ones. You should throw most of them away, but if your hand has additional value like a pair or overcards you might play.

How to handle trap hands

One of the most common errors beginning/intermediate players do is to play two big cards or any Ace from early positions and call raises with that type of hand. It’s a huge mistake to play this way since these hands easily become trap hands. A trap hand is a hand that is likely to be second best even if it hits. If you play these hands frequently you will pay dearly. Classic examples of trap hands are AT, AJ, KQ, KJ, KT, QJ and QT. If you limp in with KJ for example, you might well get trapped by a stronger hand like KQs, AK, AJs, AA, KK and QQ. As mentioned, a mistake like this will prove very costly.

This is also true when it comes to calling raises with trap hands. The most common raising hands from early positions include AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AQ and AK. This clearly shows that it’s a bad idea to call raises with trap hands.

However, there are actually a few times when the trap hands are playable. As always, timing is crucial in poker. When you’re sitting and late position and is first to act in the pot, these hands might well be worth a raise.