When playing against passive opponents, feel free to experiment with weak draws to attempt a free card. Your opponents will often check on the turn, allowing you to see a card for free. This tactic can be profitable when facing opponents who play aggressively.
However, when your opponents are playing aggressively, it’s advisable to stop trying the free card with weak hands. This approach tends to fail more frequently and yields less favorable outcomes than merely calling. For example, you have Qh Jh on the button, and a player calls. You raise, and both blinds and the initial caller call (8 small bets in the pot). The flop comes 9h 7c 3c, and the small blind bets. The big blind raises, and the initial caller calls (10 small bets in the pot). If the initial bettor is passive, you should raise; if they are aggressive, you should just call. Your backdoor flush and straight draws, along with two overcards, provide you with enough outs to take this hand. If you don’t make progress and someone bets on the turn, you must fold. If you’re reasonably certain that a free card will work, you should give it a try. If the river is a Q or J, a free card will win you the pot.
Against aggressive players, you should call, as it’s highly likely that the bettor on the flop will reraise, and the turn will see more betting. You have a fortunate opportunity to call for value and end the action.
If the flop comes 9 of spades, 7 of hearts, and 3 of hearts (two hearts replacing one), you should definitely raise, even against aggressive opponents. A flush draw and two overcards make for a strong draw. You should no longer be sad about another raise; this time, your hand will develop into a big pair or better, with a probability of over 50%.
You have 6 outs to a big pair and 9 outs to a flush—15 outs—two opportunities to develop. Occasionally, you’ll also make a straight.
In fact, if the raiser is an aggressive player, you should aim for a four-bet, especially if it’s capped. Aggressive retailers will have at least a pair or a straight draw. Against these hands, your hand is very strong. Your four-bet may lead your opponent to call on the turn, allowing you to get another free card.
To clarify, if your draw is weak, you prefer passive bettors. However, when you have a strong draw, you don’t mind an aggressive bettor. In fact, a frequently aggressive bettor is even better. Strong draws are profitable with each raise on every street; you’d enjoy playing against someone who often caps the betting. But if a passive player puts in three or four bets, they often have a set (a hand you’re afraid of having a strong draw against). An aggressive player has a broader range for a four-bet. The more passive your opponents are, the weaker the draws you can attempt with free card play. Against aggressive players, only attempt free card plays if your draw is strong enough to not mind a significant raise.