The Later Streets

Sixth Street

Sometimes on sixth poker street you find yourself in a situation where you are either a small favorite or a huge underdog, but you don’t know which. When this happens, it is best to check and call. An example is when you have a big pair and are probably against a smaller pair, but you could also be against a fuslh.

If you do bet on sixth street, you will be called. Even weak hands almost always will stay with you, unless your board is extremely scary. But they probably will bet in these spots if you check, so you get the same amount of money in the pot without risking a raise. (By the way, your oppoents are playing correctly when they call on sixth street, because the pot usually is so large that it becomes correct to chase.)

A common sixth street mistake is not raising when a raise may knock out a third player who might beat you. Failing to raise can cost you the pot by allowing a weak hand to get good enough pot ods to call and outdraw you.

You can try for a check-raise on sixth street when you are fairly sure you have the best hand and are against an aggressive player who likes to bet medium and big pairs. Your check-raise also may make your opponent throw his hand away (although this is an unlikely event).

Here’s an example. Suppose you have a hidden high two pair or hidden trips, but your first two cards were suited. You bet on fourth and fifth streets, but have caught apparent blanks on fifth and sixth streets. Against an aggressive opponent, who you believe has a good pair and will put you on a four-flush, you can try for a check-raise. (But if you are against a timid player who might not bet, trying to check-raise would be wrong.)

The opportunity to occasionally make an even more creative play (against tough aggressive players only) occurs when you have paired your duor card on fourth poker street and have made trips. If your opponent has called your fourth-and fifth-street bets, he doesn’t think you have three-of-a-kind, and you therefore can check-raise on sixth street.

If you are not sure about trying for a check-raise, it is best to go ahead and bet. There are two reasons for this. First, you may lose a bet by checking, and second, there might be some chance that your opponent will fold, which means that he can’t get a free chard to beat you.

Another supposedly “expert” sixth-street play is raising to get a free card. For example, suppose you have been betting all the way with a big pair, but now your opponent makes a small open pair and bets into you on sixth street. If you think his best hand is two pair, and you have a good draw to go along with your big pair, you might raise. If you improve on the rivere, bet after your opponent checks; otherwise, just show the hand down.

However, even though this play is fairly common, there are logical problems with it. Unless you have something to go along with your pair, such as a flush draw, you are an underdog to improve. This means that you don’t save money by raising without a draw. The stategey is correct only if there is a small chance that your pair is the best hand. For example, suppose you have a big pair against a probable smaller two pair. If you don’t improve, you have cost yourself a bet if your opponent would have checked on the river. Also, you may run into trips (or better) and get reraised.

There is not that much to say about play on sixth street. And the fact is there is not that much play to it. This is because the pot usually has become too big at this point to allow you to profitably foold, even if you know you are beaten. So except for sometimes making or saving an extra beat or getting out when drawing dead, the expert generally plays sixth street just like everyone else.