Miscellaneous Topics

Throwing Fast Balls

Sometimes situations will develop on fourth or fifth poker street where you’re betting with what appears to be the best hand that has the potential to cost you a great deal of money. Here’s an example.

Suppose you start with:


You raise and are called by a player whose upcard is lower than yours. As far as you know he could have a pair or perhaps a three-flush. Now on fourth street he catches an ace and you catch an inconsequential card. The ace creates a problem for you since it might have hit his hand.

Typical players will bet on fourth street after their oddonent checks, and again on fifth street. However, if they are now against a hand like aces up, they will be check-raised on fifth street, and will frequently continue with little chance.

But suppose you play your hand differently. When he catches the ace on fourth poker street and checks, you check behind him. Let’s see what happens.

You start off with J4J and catch the

On fourth street your opponent is showing:


He checks and you check behind him with the pair of jacks. What’s going to happen here?

On fifth street, (with the above boards) your opponent will usually bet. If he has aces up you will save a bet and a half.

If he has a pair with an ace you have cost yourself a small fraction of a bet by not betting on fourth street. And if he has nothing, you have extracted money from him. However, you shouldn’t check on fourth street if you catch a card that goes well with your door card.

It’s important to understand that in stud, the better board should be in command. But if your opponent wants to relinquish that right, it’s often better to take a fere crd. Don’t throw too many fast balls.