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

The Drawing Hands

Whenever you have four-to-a-flush or four-to-a-straight, it’s quite easy to fall into the trap of having tunnel vision.  Before you were more focused on closely following the moves of others and watching their cards?  Now, being oh-so-close to the flush or straight, you may find yourself just staring at your hand as the dealer deals fifth street card, waiting anxiously for the card to complete your hand.  You may become oblivious to what other players are doing.  A bet?  You respond with a call.  A raise?  Another call on your part.

When drawing to a flush or straight at fifth street, there are many circumstances in which you should stay to the end.  But never get tunnel vision.  You need to be focused on all that goes on around you.  Don’t concern yourself with just the cards that you need.  Obviously, your cards will be the primary factor that determines whether you keep or fold your hand, but other factors come into play, too.  In this section, we’ll look at those other factors, and I’ll tell you when to stay and when to run away.

When to Stay

First, let’s talk about sticking around.  Again, this should be anything but an automatic move for you.  Most of the time you will indeed be staying to see the last card, but not always.  Again, live cards are your most important consideration.  There is some leeway, but the point at which you need to fold a four-flush a fifth street is when six or more of your needed suit have fallen.  If you’re staying in with six of your needed suit dead, you must hold high cards or have other opportunities (such as a three-straight) to go along with your four-flush.

In any circumstance, though, fold when more than six of the cards to complete your flush are gone – unless you can see sixth street for free.  Sure, there may be three cards left I can help you – but unlike when you’re staying in with a pair or Poker Two Pair, the difference here is that you currently have nothing.

A bunch of random cards is not going to get you much in regular stud poker.  A bunch of low cards might get you a half-pot in hi-low split games, but that’s not what we’re playing here, so always fold your hand when more than six of your needed suit are dead, unless you can get a free card.  If exactly six of your suit are dead, you can stick around if you have big cards that are live.  The only other instance when sticking around is the right decision with more than six dead cards is when you have four to a straight flush.  Here, with many outs, you’ll want to be staying to the river.

Straight Draw Requirements

When we looked at straight draws before, I noted that the requirements were more stringent, since the flush is the bigger hand.  The situation hasn’t changed here.  If more than three of the cards you need to complete an open-ended straight are gone, or if even one is gone to complete an inside straight, your best decision is to fold.  The same exception applies as did with a flush draw – you can stay in if you have big, live cards or big cards that are three-to-a-flush.

Again, remember, that where your cards are concerned, the bigger the better.  Don’t hesitate to fold an open-ended straight if more than three of your needed cards are gone, and don’t hesitate to fold an inside-straight if you have one dead card.

Don’t Be the Chump

When it’s more than one big bet to you, think long and hard about staying in the hand.  In most of these situations, you should fold.  Your folding has nothing to do with having the proper number of live cards or over cards.  With two big bets, you have to figure that you are probably drawing to the second best hand.  It’s quite easy to fall into that trap, especially with a flush draw.

A flush is a great hand, but it’s not going to look so great when your opponent turns over a full house at the deciding whether to proceed with your flush and straight draws, and you must always ask yourself, “Am I just paying money to get the second-best hand?”

In my experience, I’ve found that, at the low limits, people don’t re-raise too often at fifth street.  Poker Player with a monster hand will slow play to keep in other hands; Poker Player with the good but not great hand is content just to call a bet when it comes his way, especially since it’s now the maximum bet for the limit.  But there are times when someone will re-raise.  Because it’s relatively rare to find low-limit players bluffing, when you hold a drawing hand, a re-raise should immediately set off warning bells in your head.

Most likely, a re-raise will come from a tight-aggressive player who is holding a completed hand; at times, it will come from a player holding trips.  A flush will beat trips, but with two cards game to come, his odds aren’t that much worse than your odds to get your hand (for more details on odds, see the Appendix).  Before you decide whether you can call two big bets, look carefully around the table and try to remember which cards are dead.

If you get a re-raise from a player who has J J 8 showing, you can figure him for trip jacks or possibly a full house.  If you look around the board and see that two or more of the cards he needs to improve his hand are gone, and your hand meets the requirements to continue, you can proceed with the hand – the odds to complete the flush outweigh odds to complete a full house.  However, even though you have good odds to complete your hand, fold if you see that his cards are live.  It’s just not worth spending that kind of money on a flush draw.

You may have noticed that I did not use straight draws in discussing what to do when you face two big bets.  The reason is that if you hold four cards to a straight and there are two big bets back to you, unless the re-raise if from what looks to be a weaker straight, your hand must quickly be in the muck.  A straight will lose to any better straight, any flush, or any full house.  Your odds of completing your straight are the same as the odds of completing a flush, but with so many hands that can beat you, a re-raise signifies someone drawing to a better hand than yours or someone who already has a better hand than you do.  So dump the hand.

Quick Guide….
….to Pairs on Fifth Street:

  • CALL if you have live cards and a very narrow field (no more than two other players).
  • FOLD usually – unless you have a small field, a big pair, live cards and good over cards.


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