It seems like it's hard to mess up Fantasyland. After all, you see all your cards at once. Beyond avoiding
an obvious mis-set, are you acheiving highest situational hand strength and max value from your opponent(s)?
Today's article looks specifically at a gutshot
straight-flush draw. How long should you "stick to it"?
The answer is that with a decent number of outs, you should remain very sticky. The back-row royalty difference between a
straight (+2) and flush (+4) is only 2 points, but the difference between the flush (+4) and straight flush (+15)
is 11 points. You'll want to give yourself every opportunity to grab those royalties, and the following decision point shows how
denying the early flush gives you that opportunity while remaining mathematically sound.
Here is the situation: Heads up 2nd pull, out of position, with a gutshot straight-flush set in back. A club King and a 4 both show up
in the 3-card pull.
Both the King and the 4 can complete the back row for either a regular flush or straight.
So what is the probability to unfoul if I do neither? Leaving the back row as is will yield these odds
1) 1-out (4c) straight flush: 18%
2) 7-out (any other club) flush: 78%
3) 2-out (other 4's) straight: 33%
4) 10-out (all clubs and remaining 4's) any flush or straight to unfoul: 90%
5) Foul: 10%
The most likely individual royalty scenario is making any flush, so I can set that up as 'plan B'. With a 90% overall chance of unfouling, I'll stick to the straight-flush draw, deny the 'any flush' completion here,
put the King in front to take the lead (and for backdoor Fantasyland possibilities), and see a few more cards in hopes of
catching the 4c.
It is worth examining the risk-reward scenarios of this decision. Assuming villain makes the straight in back, here
is the EV for each scenario:
Straight Flush: 19 * .18 = 3.42
Any Other Flush: 8 * .78 = 6.24
Straight: 1 * .33 = 0.33
Foul: -8 * .1 = -0.8
With 'plan B' as the most likely outcome and the EV downsides near 0, it seems foolish not to go for it.
My next pull brings no clubs, nor a 4. With 3 cards to come, this is how my hand looks:
Am I in big trouble? It might look like it, but in reality, not really! With 3 cards to come, my odds are:
1) 1-out straight flush: 10%
2) 7-out any flush: 58%
3) 10-out any flush or straight: 73%
Keep in mind that at the time of the decision, the odds were 90% that I wouldn't foul. And although they
have dipped slightly by this point in the hand, there is no need for panic, because the original curve was so high above
0 (or even 50%) that at this juncture, I am still about a 3-to-1 favorite to not foul.
The final pull brings the bingo card, the 4c.
The score for the hand was +19. For a
non-Fantasyland hand, it's very high. The straight flush is powerful in Open Face Chinese, and it's often worth it to 'delay flush gratification' to acheive it.
And while it was indeed lucky to catch that particular card (18% at the time of the decision), I refer you back to one of
the basic tenets of any good poker strategy: always be ready to maximize luck. In NL Holdem, that often means calling or raising to
manipulate pot odds to match your draws, and in this Pineapple-OFC hand it meant refusing an early opportunity to flush
or straighten the back row, and pursue the straight-flush draw while retaining a mathematically sound 'plan B'.
If you'd like your very own set of heads up and 3-handed Pineapple odds charts, you can purchase them here for a couple bucks:
PINEAPPLE OFC CHARTS