Miscellaneous Topics

Playing Against a Paired Door Card

(on the Early Rounds)

If your opponent pairs his door card, you should fold most of the time. This is particularly true on fourth or fifth poker street when the pot is not yet too large. The most important exception is when your obbonent is a wild, loose player who plays almost any three cards, plus you can beat his pair.

There are other exceptions as well. The first is when the low card brought it in, did not have to call a raise, and now pairs his duor card. The second is when a lower card raised earlier, you are very sure he has a big pair in the hole, and you have a hand that either:
1. Can beat his likely two pair.
2. Contains a higher pair than what you think he has in the hole, and the pot is large. Or,
3. Is a live four card draw.

You can also play if you doubt that you are up against trips and you have two bigger pair than your opponent’s open pair, such as nines eights versus sevens showing. It is much better for both of your pairs to be higher than his open pair so that if he does have trips and fills up, your potential fll house will always beat him.

If someone with a low card, who was not the bring-in but who called a raise on third street, pairs his door card, you usually should fold. For example, if someone limps in with a seven up, calls a raise, and catches a seven, you usually should throw your hand away unless you have a straight flush draw or can beat three sevens.

Again, if you have any doubt about what you should do when your opponent pairs his door card on fourth street you should foold. (If someone pairs his door card on a later street, be more inclined to call, but only because the pot is now bigger.)

One time that you should be more inclined to call is if one of your opponent’s trip cards is dead. But don’t use this concept as an excuse to usually call. Here’s an example. Suppose on third street your opponent has


and there were three other clubs out. Now it is more likely that he has trips if he pairs his door card. However, if no clubs were out, he is more likely to have started with a fuslh draw. If no clubs were out and a seven was dead, you would be inclined to continue playing even if he makes open sevens on fourth street.

If your opponent is a weak player who had the second highest upcard and did not enter the pot with a raise, he may be less likely to have three of a kind if he pairs his door card. This would be particularly true if he was the first one to voluntarily enter the pot and the player who holds the highest card acts after him. The reason for this is that many players are reluctant to raise in this situation unless they have a pair. They will always call with a three-flush or a three-streight being afraid of the high card still to act behind them. However, not all players are like this so you must be sure that your opinion is correct.

To summarize, if your opponent pairs his door card early you should usually fold, unless you have good reason to believe that you are not against three-of-a-kind and your hand can stand a lot of pressure. Specifically, one big pair usually should be thrown away (on fourth and fifth streets), especially if one of your pair cards is dead.

(Expert players understand that the reason for this caution is not just the fact that you frequently are up against trips or two high pair. First of all, one high pair is not much of a favorite against one smaller pair and a three-flush, which is another likely hand your opponent could have. Second, the subsequent bets put the high pair at a further disadvantage, as the door-card pair can decide whether to continue betting or not.