The Best Poker of the Rest

We have now looked at just about every hand that you can start with on third street – the pairs and the drawing hands.  In nearly every other situation, you will have folded if you don’t have a pair or drawing hand to start out with, and you’ll be paying attention to how the play of the hand progresses.  There are just a few other situations in which you can limp in to see fourth street.

One is, of course, when you are the bring-in and no one has raised.  Here, you’ll be staying in with anything.  You can also limp in for a dollar if you are in late position, have three big cards, see that most of them are live and have had few callers.  For example, suppose you hold a 10, a king, and an ace.  You are the last to act, and when you studied the board, you saw a 10 fall, but no kings or aces.  By the time it gets to you, there are two people who have stayed in:  the original bring-in bet, and one other caller.  In this case, go ahead and toss in a chip to see fourth street.  Hope that you will improve to a big pair.

Proceed with caution, though.  If there are more than three players who have stayed in by the time it gets to you, (or two if you are the second-to-last player to bet and there is a scary card to your left)  fold.  Yes, you have three big cards, but even a small pair is starting out with something better than you have.

If you hold two suited cards, are in early or middle position, and if all cards that are smaller than any of the card games that you hold have yet to act, you can limp 9in for a dollar if you feel the need.  Still, most of the time, even with three big cards and smaller cards yet to act, save yourself the dollar – wait for the better starting hand.  Of course, it’s tempting to play – you’ve taken the time to come down to the card club, and you want to be in the hand.  But if your objective is to maximize your winnings, select your three cards very, very carefully.

Remember – the decision you make on third street will be your most important decision on a hand.  The gambler inside you may urge you to play more loosely, but that’s a foolish mistake that’s all too easy to make.  Trash is more likely just to become more trash.  Be patient and wait for the hand that you want to play, and when that hand does come, know how to play it properly.

Quick Quiz: Third Street

Before you move on to learn about poker peyl on fourth street, take this 10-question quiz to test your knowledge of correct third street play. If you find any questions too difficult, remember that all the information you’ll need to answer them is contained in this chapter.  Answers are provided directly after the questions.


  • You hold pocket jacks with a deuce on the board and are the bring-in bet.  Do you bring it in for a dollar or the full amount?
  • You have pocket jacks and a 5 on the board and are in late position.  The bring-in brought it in for a dollar, there were five callers, and it’s to you.  Do you call or complete the betting to two dollars?
  • You have rolled up treys and are in middle position.  A player holding a queen raises the bring-in bet to two dollars, and it’s to you.  Do you call or raise?
  • You have the 10 of diamonds, 8 of diamonds, and 5 of diamonds, and you see two other diamonds on the board.  It’s a dollar to call – do you stay in?
  • You have the king of diamonds, the ace of diamonds, and the jack of diamonds, and you see three other diamonds on the board but no kings or aces.  It’s one dollar to you to stay in-do you?
  • You have three-to-a-straight – a 4, a 5, and a 6, and you are in late position.  The bring-in bet is raised by a queen and then re-raised by an ace, making it four dollars by the time it get to you.  All of your 3s and 7s are live.  Do you call?
  • You hold a split pair of 5s and a 7 for a kicker, and you’re in early positin.  One 5 is gone, and a queen, a king and an ace are yet to act.  It’s one dollar to you to call.  Do you stay in or foold?
  • You have pocket aces and a jack on the board.  One ace is dead, and the bring-in has been completed to two dollars by a queen on the board.  Do you call or raise?
  • You have a suited ace and king in the hole, and a 10 of another suit for your door card.  The bring-in was completed to two dollars by a jack.  Do you stay-in?
  • You have a split pair of 4s with an ace kicker.  No other 4s are dead, and you are in middle position.  It’s a dollar to you, and several faca cards are yet to act.  Do you fold, call, or raise?


  • Bet the full amount.  You have a good starting hand.  You want to force out other drawing hands early on so they won’t give you trouble down the line.
  • Complete it.  Yes, at the low limits with only a dollar to call many of Poker players will stay in –they have some money in the pot and don’t want to be pushed around.

If you think there is absolutely no chance that anybody will fold, you can simply call.  Most of the time, though, you want to complete it in this situation.  That warns other players that you have something and even if you force out just one player, that’s one fewer drawing hand that you have to worry about.

  • Raise.  Conventional wisdom says to call to keep as many players in as possible whenever you start out with trips.  With a lower set (such as treys), though, raise it to four dollars.  You’ll force some people out.  Better to have the competition out of the way now so if the trips don’t improve, someone won’t outdraw you.
  • Call.  Calling is the right decision, but proceed with caution.  As play progresses, you want your cards to be as live as possible, because your hand is not that big.  With just two of your needed suit gone, calling is the right decision.
  • Call.  With three of your needed suit already gone, folding is a good idea, but not here.  Here you have big, live cards to go along with your three-flush.
  • Fold.  With just one dollar to call, it’s fine to call this bet.  But with four dollars to call, well, all you have is a lousy small three-straight.  You’re going up against a probable big pair.  It’d be better to be the big pair than you at this point, so fold the hand.
  • Fold.  Yes, you have a pair, but it’s a small pair with one card already gone.  Only one card can improve you to trips, and a Poker Two Pair here, being so small, is worthless.  Calling would just get you into trouble down the line, so wait until you have a better hand.
  • Raise.  One of your aces may be dead, but you have a good kicker, your aces are hidden, and you want to force out as many players as possible.  Ideally it will be just you and Poker Palyer who completed the betting for fourth street.
  • Fold.  This was a trick question of sorts for hold’em players.  Any hold’em player knows that holding a suited ace and king in the hole is very valuable.  In stud those cards are not nearly as valuable.  Here you have three decent cards, but no pair, no three fulsh, and no three-straight.  The betting has already been completed to two dollars.  Rather than put two dollars in the pot, wait until you have something better to work with – you don’t want to go up against a probable pair of queens from the start.
  • Call.  On third street, there won’t be too much banging away at low limts, even from face cards.  It’s only a dollar to you, your cards are live, and you already have a pair with a good kicker to go along with it.  You should try to make trips or a good Poker Two Pair on fourth street, so go ahead and call

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

  • CALL an open-ended straigh if two or fewer of your cards are dead and no other player has risen.  Calling a full small bet is okay if all of your cards are live, but don’t call more than that.
  • FOLD if there is a lot of action or if more than two of your cards to an open-ended straight are dead.