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

Straight Draws

Having three cards to a straight on third street is often just as tempting as having three to a flush, and just as many players will play any three suited cards, many players will also play any three cards in a sequence.  I must admit, I, too, used to stay in anytime I started out with three to a straight.  As I gained experience, though, I came to dislike straight draws.  There are even some players who will rarely play those hands.  Nonetheless, three-to-a-straight hands are quite playable, but they cannot be played as liberally as flush draws.  Different situations will arise in which straight draws can or cannot be played, and we’ll cover them now.

Big Cards Are a Must

As with flush draws, a key thing to remember with your straight draws is that bigger is always better.  If you have a ten, a jack, and a queen, you have a very good straight draw.  As with the flush, the odds are still against your completing your straight, but with three big cards, more options may present themselves if you’re fortunate enough to get a big pair or better down the line.

With three small cards, such as a 4, a 5 and a 6, you can’t get too excited. Because all three of your cards are small, completing your straight is about the only thing that will help you.  Pairs and even Poker Two Pairs are pretty much worthless at those ranks.

As with any hand, as soon as you’ve looked at what you hold, you will want to keep your eyes on the board.  When you’re on a flush draw with small cards, it is fine to stay when two of your needed suit are on the board, and if you have big cards, up to three of your needed suit can be there.  With a straight draw, though, even with three big cards, if you find that more than two of the cards that will improve your three-straight to a four-straight are dead, fold and be done with it.

When you’re checking the board to see how many of your cards are dead, the first thing to look for are dead cards that would have improved your three-straight to a four-straight open-ended draw.  For example, if you have a 9, a 10, and a jack, the first cards you will be looking for are the 8 and the queen.  What about the 7 and the king?  You’ll need those cards, too, so keep your eye open for any of them.  Of primary importance, though, are the cards that create your open ended straight draws.  Remember, if you see two that are gone, you should be gone, too.

Obviously, you can’t forget the cards that would complete your straight.  If, for instance, you have the above hand, and you see a queen gone along with a king and a 7, fold unless you improve to a pair.  While only one of the six- cards that would make your three-straight a four-straight draw is dead, two of the other cards that would complete your straight are gone, too.  No need to go against the odds to try to get lucky- wait for something better.

The Essentials

Straight-draws can be very confusing.  So, before we move on, let’s take another moment to consider what you should do depending on the situation you face.

First, consider the quality of your hand.  If it is a small straight draw, such as a 3, a 4, and a 5, consider folding immediately, even if most of your cards are live.  This is mediocre hand.  Even if it turns into a straight, it may very well lose to a better hand.  Second, if you decide to play a straight draw, remember, the bigger the better.  Third, always be looking at the board.  If you see that more than two of the cards to improve to a four-straight are gone, fold.  If one card and two secondary cards to make your straight are gone, fold as well.

Never hesitate to fold the small straight-draws, even if you find that all of your needed cards are live.  As I have said again and again with flush and straight draws, the bigger the better.  When you’re drawing to a straight, big cards are especially important.

Stay Away from Gaps

Finally, you may be tempted from time to time to play hands that have a gap between two cards, such as an 8, a 10, and a jack.  This is a mistake that will cost you money.  Three cards to a straight that have a gap in them have a very small chance of improving.  The only possible situation in which playing this hand is justifiable is if all of your gap cards are live, you are the bring-in, last, or second-to last to act, and you have very good cards, such as a jack, a king, and an ace.

The odds are already against your making a straight with three cards in a sequence. Playing them, especially if they’re three small cards in a sequence, can get you in trouble.  Playing one-gap straights can get you in even more trouble.  If you do feel the urge to play a one-gap straight, make sure all of your gap cards are live, and don’t play it unless you are one of the last players to act and have three big cards.

Quick Guide….
….To Flush Draws on Third Street:

  • CALL if you see that two or fewer cards of your suit have been dealt.  It’s okay to stay in with three if you have big cards, and you can stay in with up to four if you have three-to-a-straight-flush.
  • FOLD if more than two of your suited cards are gone and you have small cards.  If you can’t resist gambling, certainly don’t play if it costs more than the bring-in to stay in.  With bigger cards, you can stay in with up to three dead cards of your suit.


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