Final Thoughts

We’ve covered proper play of hands through each of the betting stages.  If you read this material (and re-read it) you can head to the card club or your favorite home game with confidence, knowing when to sit tight and when to come out like a 500-pound gorilla.  Before we finish up, I’d also like to mention a few last topics to help you improve your stud poker game.

Online Play

Lately it seems like millions of web sites are added to the World Wide Web everyday.  With the web’s incredible growth, a number of opportunities for gambling on the Internet – playing the slots, betting on sports, and of course, playing – have developed.  Should you play online?

Personally, I play on the Internet only for fun.  I don’t feel that there is anything wrong with playing online, but I prefer holding the cards in my hands, watching my opponents, and actually picking up chips.  One problem with playing on the Internet is that collusion is easy there.  I saw just how easy it is when I tried it with another poker player one evening.  We went to a poker web site to play for fun, but we let each other know what we were holding.  I’m certainly not the kind of person who would ever do this in a live money game on the Web, but we did it as an experiment to determine how it would work.

The obvious result was that we both would win a number of play chips – when one of us had a monster hand, we would both drive up the pot to pay that person off.  This kind of collusion was quite simple – we just communicated via instant messaging, and no one at the table knew.  Doing this at a real money table would be highly unethical, but people do – so if you do play online that’s one thing you need to keep in mind.

I understand that online play has become very popular, so I do not want to paint a bleak and dark picture and suggests that playing on the Internet is entirely a bad proposition.  Most of the sites out there have good security, and their teams try to track down people who collude to make sure they do not disrupt play.  Still, tracking down these cheaters is much more difficult on the Internet than in an actual card club.  So how do you avoid them?

Well, it’s definitely better to play the low limits.  At the low limits that this book covers, collusion is less likely than at the higher limits.  Most of Poker players are at those sites just for fun or to win a little money.  If you are the type of player who’d collude, why would waste your time in a low-limit online game when you could make real money cheating a higher limit game? Pros of Online Play

Online play also has a number of advantages, especially for the low limi stud player.  The biggest is that it’s much easier to remember cards when you’re on the computer and at home.  You can have a digital notebook open, or you can use a pencil and paper to write down cards as they are folded.  And that’s much easier than trying to remember them all at a card club table.  Additionally, if you want to, you can play in several games at once, you don’t have to worry about attire, and the rake is a little lower overall.

You also have greater options in table choices (especially for us low-limit players).  Some online poker sites even have tables where the minimum bet is a quarter and the big bet is fifty cents.  Your take certainly won’t be much from these games, but you can still learn a big and have some fun.  Online sites also have numerous play money tables, which are great when you can’t get to the card club.  When you do play online at a play money table, remember that the style of play will be much more loose – after all, if it’s just fake money, why not gamble more?

Finally, in many states, poker is still illegal.  If you are unfortunate enough to live in one these places, here’s my advice: move.  If that is not an option, online pokr may be your only option outside of home games with your friends.  You may have to stick to playing on the Internet if you can’t get to a card room.

One thing is for certain – the Internet will only grow in terms of the options you have in playing poker there.  Competition is always good, as it brings out the best in competitors to offer the best for the customer.  While collusion may always be a threat, don’t feel uncomfortable about playing on the Internet.  For many people, intrnet poker can be fun and relaxing in the comfort of their own homes.


One thing that I haven’t covered in depth is check-raising.  First, if anyone says that it’s unethical to check-raise, tell him to stick the game in his kitchen.  Check-raising is a part of poker, and it’s a very useful thing to do when it’s done right.  The key is knowing when it is right to attempt a check-raise.

Though theoretically you can check-raise at any time, the earlier your position, the better.  Obviously, for you to check, there must be no bets on the table, so usually when you check-raise you will be first to act.  If you are going to try for a check-raise, you want to have a monster hand or feel very confident that no one at the table has something that could beat you.  Check-raising with Poker Two Pair on fifth street, for instance, is not a good idea.  Check-raising on fifth street with a big full house is.  Even if no one bets, you get all those drawing hands in on sixth street when you’ll be betting.

Having a monster hand does not automatically mean that you should check-raise.  For one thing, you’ll also want to be certain that another player will bet.  If you have trips on the board and you check, don’t expect a whole lot of callers.  Hidden power is better.  If your cards on the board don’t reveal much, and it looks like another player could have made a hand smaller than yours or will be betting with a pair he has showing, check and then raise him and the other callers.

Don’t feel guilty about check raising – it’s a part of poker.  Just remember that you must have a huge hand and be confident that other will bet when you try it.  Check-raising with either smaller hands or with an obvious monster hand can be costly.