The Game Stud

Poker Play

Positive Attitude

Poker Intimidated

Check Other Games

Betting Styles

Poker Bluff


Third Street

Poker Big Pairs

Middle Pairs

Low Pairs

Flush Draws

Straight Draws

Best of the Rest


Fourth Street

Force Out Hands

Poker Two Pair

Poker Big Pairs

Middle Small Pairs

Four Flushes

Ended Straight


Fifth Street

Playing Full House

Flushes Straights

Poker Trips

Poker Two Pair

Drawing Hands


Learning to play poker

Open Ended Straight Draws

When you have four cards to an open-ended straight, you will usually go ahead and play this hand as long as possible.  Of course, an open-ended straight draw with four cards is much better than three to a straight.  The odds are now pretty good-about 1.5 to 1 – that you will make a straight by the river.  Still, as with a four-flush, don’t automatically be calling every bet and assuming that the card you need to complete your hand will fall.

So when can you call?  One instance is when the board does not look too threatening.  Be on guard if you see one or two big pairs – you certainly do not want to make your straight and have it beaten by a full house later on.

You must also proceed with caution if there’s lot of action before the betting gets to you.  You never want to call if it’s more than one big bet to you.  You may have a good shot to make the straight, but even with the live cards, more than one big bet on fourth street means at least one of Poker players has a very good hand.  Your straight won’t hold up against a flush or better.  Fortunately, most of the time at the low limits, there won’t be a lot of banging away on fourth street, so you can call.  In many cases, you can even stay until the river with four to an open-ended straight.

Once again, you also need to consider how many of your cards are live.  Requirements are slightly more liberal with flush draws, because the odds are slightly better for completing a four-flush than a four-straight, and a flush is a better hand.  While the odds may be good to get a straight, you always have to remember that they are relative to how many cards are live.  Ideally, all of your cards to complete your straight are live, but that’s not often the case.

How many cards can be dead?  With an open-ended straight draw, you should rarely play with more than two cards gone if you’re facing one big bet.  You should rarely play with more than three cards if you’re facing one small bet.  Staying in for a minimum bet is okay with three cards, but you want to make sure when you do that you have big cards – such as a 9 10 J Q hand –to go along with your straight draw.  As a rule of thumb, though, with more than three cards to complete your straight gone, do not give in no temptation to call and call.  You will just be giving away your money.

Quick Guide….
….To Flush and Straight Draws on Fourth Street:

  • RAISE rarely – only if you have four to a straight flush, with a lot of live cards.
  • CALL when you have four to a flush and no more than five of the cards needed to complete it are dead, or when you have four to a straight and no more than three of the cards needed to complete it are dead. Remember, in both cases, the bigger the better.  Call a three-flush or three-straight if you have big cards or a pair and can limp in cheaply.
  • FOLD if too many of your needed cards are gone or if there is a lot of heavy betting before the action gets to you.

Fourth Street: A Summary

  • This ends our discussion of play on fourth street.  From here on, action will begin to pick up.  The betting will always be the maximum, so you will have to exercise caution, but when you do play, you’ll be playing aggressively.  As play goes along, it is crucial to start out strong if you want to get stronger.  At third and fourth street, the bets are frequently inexpensive – with the loose/ passive nature of many low-limit games, it’s common to go long periods of time with no raises to the maximum.

  • By this point, you should see that you clearly should not be one of those passive players when you have something! When you do get a good hand, play it hard and aggressive.  But never, ever fall into the trap of playing loosely just to see the fifth card, as some players do.  Granted, the betting is not as heavy yet as it will be once we get to fifth street, but if you stay in time and time again with mediocre cards, you will just be giving away money.  A dollar here, a small bet there, and it will add up over a session.  Be patient! The good cards will come, and when they do you want to be in a position to make a good hand great, so you’ll be all smiles at the showdown.

Quick Quiz: Fourth Street

  • To review and test your knowledge, take the following quick quiz.  Then let’s move on to fifth street, where the action picks up and the bets increase


  • In middle position, you hold a split pair of 10s and two medium kickers.  One of your 10s is dead.  A player with an ace and king showing on the board bets two dollars, and a pair of 5s on the board raises the betting to four dollars.  It’s now one big bet to you.  You know that no other 5s are dead.  Do you fold, call or raise?

  • You hold Poker Two Pair, queens and 5s.  One of your 5s is dead.  There is one small pair on the board, and, since your queens are showing on the board, you are first to act.  Do you bring it in for the minimum or the maximum?

  • You had a split pair of 5s on third street, which didn’t improve on fourth street.  Three of your cards are suited, however, and you have two good kickers: an ace and a queen.  Only one queen is dead, and you haven’t seen many of your suit on the board.  Your 5s are also live.  You’re in middle position, it’s one small bet to you, and there is nothing too threatening on the board – just a small pair, who bet the minimum.  Do you fold, call or raise?

  • You limped in with a split pair of deuces on third street, and it’s now improved to trips.  Your other card is a king, and while all the kings are still live, the other deuce has been dealt to another player.  You’re in late position, and it is one big bet to you  - a small pair bet two dollars and was raised by a player with a jack and a 10 on the board.  There was one other caller.  Do you raise or call?

  • You started out with three-to-a-flush, but the fourth card brought no help.  You’ve seen four of your suit fall to other players.  You have an ace as a high card, but the rest of your cards are relatively small.  You are in early position, and while there are no pairs on the board, Poker Player who bet ahead of you bet the minimum.  Do you call?

  • You started out by limping in with three-to-a-straight: a5, a 6, and a 7.  A trey is dealt to you on fourth street.  You’ve seen one 4 fall.  You are in middle position, and a pair of 9s bets four dollars.  There are several callers, including another small pair.  Do you call?

  • You started out with three-to-a-straight, and you haven’t improved.  You do have several big cards – a jack, queen and king – and only one queen is dead.  You are in late position, and the board looks weak with no pairs.  An ace-high has bet two dollars to you.  Do you stay in?

  • You started with a three-flush that’s improved to a four-flush.  Three of the cards of your suit have fallen.  You’re in late position, and you face one big bet – the small bet was raised by an open pair of 10s.  There have been two callers, and you’d be the fifth person in the pot.  Do you stay in?

  • You have a small four-straight.  Only one of your cards is dead, and your straight is open-ended.  A pair of aces brought in the betting for four dollars, and it was promptly raised by a pair of queens.  Do you stay in?

  • You limped in as the bring-in bet on third street, but you had three big card – a 10, a queen, and an ace.  Now you’ve got a 9.  The board looks weak, and when it comes to you, it’s just one small bet.  Do you call or fold?


  • Fold.  One of your 10s is already dead, your kickers are not of good quality, and a raise from the pair of 5s is a good indicator that Poker Player has probably improved to Poker Two Pair or possibly trips.  Calling one small bet would be okay, but you don’t want to call a full bet with those lousy kickers and a dead 10.

  • Bet the maximum.  You could be up against trips from the small pair, but your concern is to protect your Poker Two Pair.  It’s a good hand, but you’d like to win even Poker Player if your hand does not improve.  Bet the full amount, and make other players who are on draws think long and hard about staying in.  Ideally, you’ll be heads up against who has the smaller pair.  If not, at least you’ll cut the field.

  • Call.  You’re an underdog to make a flush, but several things are working in your favor here – good kickers, live cards to improve to trips, and a three-flush.  Calling even one big bet is justifiable here given your good over cards, but any more than that and you would have to fold.

  • Raise.  Don’t feel to uncomfortable about doing so, even if it’s big bet to you.  Your goal is to narrow the field as much as possible.  If you’re re-raised, just call, but with a hand as good as trips after your fourth card, protect it.  You want to win with just that, in case you don’t fill up.

  • Fold.  Muck this hand.  Too many cards of your needed suit are already gone, and you have mediocre kickers.  Facing high odds and having poor kickers, don’t try to beat the odds.  The pot is too small right now to be giving you good pot odds, so fold and wait for the better hand.

  • Fold.  Calling with live cards would be okay if your straight were open-ended, but because you are on a gutshot (inside) straight draw here, fold.  There are only three cards in the deck that can help you, and with a small, low-quality straight, it’s not worth sticking around.

  • Call.  It is just one small bet, you have big cards, and because you are in late position, you’ve had the chance to see what the other players have done.  Go ahead and stick around in hopes that you’ll get another card to your straight draw, or perhaps a big pair.

  • Call.  Ideally, the bigger your cards are the better, but with four-to-a-flush on fourth street, you have a great shot to make the flush.

  • Fold.  You may have a great shot to make your straight, but a straight isn’t going to win this pot.  Poker players may have just Poker Two Pair or trips (which a straight will beat), but with three cards yet to come, they have a great shot to beat you.  Save yourself the eight dollars.

  • Fold.  This is a trap, and it’s easy to fall into it.  It’s only two bucks, and the board looks lousy, so why not stay in, right?  Wrong! Staying in will cost you money.  You have a few big cards, but you want three-to-a-flush or straight even to consider limping in.  Fold the hand and wait until you get a pair or better drawing possibility.


Sixth Street

Completed Solid Hands

Trips & Poker Two Pairs



Seventh Street

Calling Seventh Street

Quick Quiz

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Keep Records

the Shaking Hand