Why Chasing Draws Is Not Profitable

Chasing Cards in PokerHow many times have you seen a player check a flop that contains 2 hearts. His opponent bets and he calls.

The turn brings a spade.  He checks, his opponent bets again he calls again.

The river is a diamond and he checks.  His opponent bets again and he finally folds.  I lose count of how many times I have seen this scenario, it is pretty obvious that the player is chasing a flush. It’s the same thing with players chasing a straight.

How much of your chips are you prepared to give up to chase ?

I’ve seen some players give their whole stacks away !

To me, what you have to think of is the cost involved in chasing.  If you are playing against an aggressive opponent,  your cost will be high.  If you have a skilled opponent he will bet to protect his hand and the cost will be high.  If you have a maniac you are trying to bust, your cost will be high.  Are you getting the picture?

You have to bear in mind the cost of calling not just the flop bet, but also possibly the turn bet also in order to see all 5 cards. Again, you have to not only think of calling the flop bet but if your card does not come do you call another bet on the turn … and another on the river ?  What if he increases his bets on each street ?  This is where a little turns into a lot and chasing can soon leave a big gaping hole in your chip stack.

You know how to work out pot odds and the odds of your outs hitting from the article earlier in this guide on an Introduction to Pot Odds in Poker.

There are two things to consider when considering whether to chase a draw. The first is the pot odds. If you are not getting the right pot odds to make a call then it is an easy decision, instant fold. Never chase odds that aren’t there.

The second consideration, especially in a tournament, is the cost of chasing, and the impact it will have on your chip stack.

Even if you have the odds to chase your draw, if it is likely to leave a significant dent in your chip stack if you don’t hit, or if it is going to have the effect of moving you from an average stack down to a short stack, then it is not worth chasing in a tournament. Wait for a better situation where you will win more than 1 in 4 (Flush) or 1 in 5 (Straight).

Sure you will hit the odd time but the percentages say you will lose more than win.  It’s the cost of chasing that has to be taken into account.  When you stop and consider fold equity as opposed to chasing and not hitting you will come to the realization that your stack will survive longer and stay stronger with no chasing.  Your fold equity % will remain high.

When chasing you have to consider the situation at hand but also think ahead. Then you have to ask yourself is worth it to chase?

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