Raising with Drawing Hands

One seemingly crazy play that a lot of high stakes poker players make is raising with drawing hands. And what’s puzzling about this move is that most poker strategy suggests only calling with drawing hands when you have good pot odds and/or implied odds. But when you take a closer look at the logic behind raising with drawing hands, the move makes a lot more sense.

But before we get into the logic behind raising with a straight or flush draw, realize that you should avoid doing this until you know your opponent’s range pretty well. Assuming you do know the range of hands that your opponent is willing to play, you can get a better idea of when is and isn’t a good time to raise with your drawing hand.

Now, getting to the reasons why raising with drawing hands can be profitable, the biggest benefit is that you disguise your hand. For example, while holding 9s-Ts on a flop of Js-5h-As, raising here indicates a strong chance that you might have top pair rather than a flush and/or straight draw. Maybe your opponent has A-Q non-suited and they’re wondering if you have A-T, so they cautiously think that they have you beat. In any case, you’ve disguised your drawing hand, and have a strong possibility of extracting maximum value from it later on.

Another huge benefit of raising with a drawing hand is that you can make somebody with a better hand fold. Using the same situation from before, your 9s-Ts combination is easily beaten by the A-Q non-suited combo at this point. But with a raise, maybe your opponent thinks you have a two-pair, set, or even A-K. With all of these thoughts running through their head, you are more likely to make them fold the better hand.

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