In Texas Hold 'Em, you are dealt two cards face down to begin with. After this, three communal cards are dealt face up, followed by a fourth, and finally a fifth. Each of these events is followed by a round of betting.

If you've limped in to see the flop, hoping to make a straight or a flush, it is important to keep things in perspective. If you have only three of the cards you need, you need both of the cards remaining to be dealt to turn up in your favour. The odds of this happening are terrible; 90 in 2162 (about 4%) for a flush draw, and at best 64 in 2162 (about 3%) for a straight draw. Therefore, unless you've got something else going for you in addition, chasing this type of draw (called a backdoor or runner-runner draw) is... ill-advised. Stupid, really. It's just a fundamentally bad idea. You won't lose every time - in fact, if you go in on one of these hands early in your card-playing days and win, you may become convinced that playing them is a good idea. However, this decision will come back to haunt you. The laws of probability are implacable. Sooner or later, universal karma will come along and deprive you of your ill-gotten winnings, thereby balancing out the fluke that was the basis of your earlier gains.

And so I say to that guy who just chased his backdoor straight draw to the river and beat my three kings: All is forgiven. I'm not bitter, you see. I have faith. There will be other hands, and my pocket pairs will be just as strong. You just keep on chasing those hands, my friend. I'll be waiting.

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