Third Street

Three-of-a-Kind “Wired”

The best starting hand in seven card stud is, of course, three-of-a-kind, also known as rolled up trips. You won’t get this hand very often. It will occur on average only once in every 425 times that you are dealt in. following is some advice on how to play these extremely good starting hands.

First, even though you have a very strong hand to begin with, it is not necessarily a “slowplaying” hand. To always slowplay strong hands, no matter what the situation, is a mistake in almost all forms of poker, including sven card stud. Slowplaying rolled up trips is usually correct only in tight games. If there are loose, aggressive players behind you (and this type of opponent is fairly common at seven card stud), they often will play and sometimes give a lot of action, even if you raise. In this situation, playing three-of-a-kind show is definitely a mistake.

In reality, it usually doesn’t matter very much how you play these hands if you are the first one in. If you have rolled up trips and several people have called, you definitely want to raise. However, if you are the first one in and hold three-of-a-kind, whether small or large, either calling or raising may be okay. The type of game, either loose or tight, or aggressive or passive, should be deciding factor.

Some players will never raise with three-of-a-kind if they are up front. As just pointed out, this is not correct. One reason to raise in early positon with this is not correct. One reason to raise in early position with this hand is that getting more money in the pot can “tie-on” other players. And no matter what your position, you should be more inclined to raise with rolled up trips if your trips are small. Remember, even though small rolled up trips are very strong, they often are beaten.

You usually should play small rolled up trips fast. Be sure to reraise if already raised, and frequently raise if there are many big cards behind you. Both of these raises will encourage a big pot. If it does turn out that you are looking at a big pair, your opponent will be anxious to get in an extra bet. Also, someone may reriase your small upcard with a big three-flushes.

One reason to reraise a probable big pair with a rolled up hand is to make him think you have a bigger pair in the hole. The player holding the big pair almost always will play, and if he makes a hidden two pair, you will often get three bets out of him on either fifth or sixth street. If he pairs his board (not his doord card), you usually will get two bets that round. The exception, of course, is if the original raiser shows an ace. Since you cannot have a higher pair in the hole, you may want to wait to raise so as not to arouse suspicion.

One thing you should consider when deciding whether to raise or reraise with three-of-a-kind is whether the raise may give your hand away. If it might, then be more inclined to call. An example of this would be if a queen raised and then an ace reraised. If you come over the top, you essentially are announcing your hand. By just calling, your opponents may think your most likely hand is a three-flush or a big pair in the hole, perhaps a pair of kings.

But there is an exception. If the table already has seen you make it three bets with something like a three-flush, then your occonents will not be as likely to think you are rolled up. If this is the case, a raise may still be the best play, especially since the pot has already gotten large enough that you might just as soon knock some players out.

If you did not raise coming in with rolled up trips, you usually should wait until fifth or even sixth street to start playing fast. However, keep in mind how the boards develop, and how timid your opposition is. Some timid opponents easily get scared out of betting on sixth poker street. This is especially true if you show something like a three-flussh or perhaps even catch an ace. Against this type of player, waiting until sixth to raise can be a mistake.

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