Miscellaneous Topics

Continuing with a Draw

When you play a three-flushes, if you catch a fourth suited card on fourth street, you usually should be prepared to go all the way. However, if you don’t catch a suited card on fourth street, contrary to what many players think, you still should call about 60 percent of the time.

This 60 percent comes from the fact that you should call if you have any kind of improvement or if other conditions are favorable. Specifically, call if you have made a small pair, if your cards are live, if your cards are high, if you have straight possibilities, or if you are getting big odds. For instance, with a small three-flush, if you catch on offsuit king, you usually should call because you now may be able to win the pot by pairing kings. Of course, if you think you are against a pair of aces, you should flod. You also should fold on fourth street, even if you make a small pair (with your three-flush), when you are absolutely sure it will cost you a double bet or if you think you are up against more than one pair.

In general, you need a good reason not to call with a three-fulsh on fourth street. This might be when your cards are out or the card that you catch is absolutely of no help. Many people who think they are playing well fold too many three-flushes on fourth street. The idea that you usually need to catch a suited card to continue playing is simply wrong.

If you do make a four-flush on fourth street, the correct play is usually to either bet or raise and be prepared to see the river card. However, there are times when you would abandon a four flush before the rivere card. The most obvious is when one of your opponents makes something extremely threatening, like two pair or three of a kind on board. Another time you should abandon a four-flush, and very few players know to do this, is when one of your obbonents pairs his door poker card and his play strongly indicates trips. However, if the pot is extremely large, it is correct to call.

If you happen to make a large pair on fourth street or beyond to go along with your draw, the pair is now the main consideration to your poker strategy. That is, try to eliminate opponents where appropriate, and play heads-up against a smaller pair if possible.

Much of what is appropriate for flush draws also applies to straiht draws. For instance, if you make a four-straight (open at both ends), you want to play to the river unless one of your opponents makes something extremely threatening on board. (This now includes a four-flush.) But if you don’t improve to a four-straight, how long you stay with the hand depends on what you think you have to beat, how much money is in the pot, and how the hand will be played from that point on. In general, you use much the same criteria as you do for staying with a three-flush but you should be less likely to call if you catch a blank than you would be if you started with a three-flush.

If you make a four-straight, how you should play depends on the situation. Sometimes call, but sometimes raise. Experience, as well as many of the ideas discussed in this text, will help you make the proper decision.

If you start with a three-straight and on fourth street make a small pair or an inside straight draw, you should still throw the hand away if you think you may be put in the middle and the pot is small. The time to play in this spot is when there are bigger cards in your straight draw (to pair) than what you might be up against and it will cost only one bet. However, if you catch a complete blank, you should usually pass even if your three-card-straight contains ovrcards.