Whether to proceed with the hand at third street is the most important decision you will make in a single hand.  A close second, however, is whether you want to continue past the fifth card (fifth street).  What makes this portion of the game so significant?  The answer is in the betting.

On previous rounds, you could place just a small bet.  Once you hit fifth street, all bets must be for the maximum amount.  The game becomes more expensive, and once you make a decision to stay in at fifth street, it’s likely that you’ll be staying all the way to the end.  So by this point, you want either to have made your hand or to feel that you have a very strong possibility of completing the hand.

Because the game gets more expensive at fifth street, it’s extremely important to know when you should stay in till the end.  It’s also crucial to know when you want to play aggressively to make it very expensive for marginal drawing hands to stay in the pot.  In this chapter, we’ll start with the bigger hands and then finish up with the drawing hands.

The monster Hands

Nothing is better than having made a powerful hand that you’re convinced has no chance of losing.  So what constitutes a “monster hand?” The best way to define it is as a very powerful hand that will very rarely be beaten.  A straigt flussh, quads, or a big full house constitutes such a hand.

When you’re playing a monster hand, take your foot off of the accelerator.  Yes, you should play aggressively when you are trying to force out drawing hands, but with a huge hand you do not want them to be out of the way.  Instead, when you have made a huge hand, ease up at first to see what other players will do.  You know you’ll have a big surprise waiting for them by the time you get to the last card, so let them stay in.  Set a trap.

As tempting as it is to raise or re-raise in these situations, with a monster hand you want to let the other players draw dead to their hands, so you win a huge pot.  In the best scenario, your opponents will complete their flushes or straights, and they’ll let you raise and re-raise them by the time sixth and seventh streets roll around.

Raising with a Monster

Is it ever okay on fifth street to raise and re-raise with a monster hand?  Certainly.  For instance, if there are not many players left, and you believe Poker players left will not flod, even with a lot of action, go ahead and raise a player’s bet.  Remember, though, when you have a monster hand, the more players that are in the pot, the better.  Another instance in which it’s best to raise the bet is when you are in late position and there’s been a lot of action by the time it comes to you.  Putting more money in the pot won’t scare off those who have already bet and raised – they simply will call your raise.  They want to stay in until the end.

Finally, although you want to call most of the time with great hands such as quads or a big flul house, you don’t want to do so all of the time.  Unlike in hold’em poker, in stud, you can never be certain when you have the absolute nuts – a hand that can’t be beaten.  If you believe there is any chance that one of your oddonents has something better than what you hold, go ahead and raise.

Quick Guide….
….To Monster hands on Fifth Street:

  • RAISE if there has been a lot of action (two bets or more) by the time the betting gets to you.
  • ALL most of the time, so others can build your pot – you’ll have time to raise on sixth or seventh street.