Trips and Poker Two Pairs

In previous chapters, we discussed how you want to play trips and Poker Two Pairs aggressively to force out drawing hands and make them pay dearly to stick around.  This was especially the case at fifth street, when you could bet the maximum and make the drawing hands pay more to stay in the hand.  Having read that last sentence, you may be thinking that this section isn’t even necessary.  Just follow what you learned before and it will work here, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  More than once in this chapter I’ve noted that sixth street is just a stop on your way to your final destination of seventh street.  At this stage in the game, Poker players are either in or they’re out.  Raising won’t force players out too often, so you should raise only when you feel you have the best hand.

When I play hold’em, and I’ve made a set of aces or a big Poker Two Pair on the tuern (sixth) card, I’m going to be raising and banging away.  Anyone who plays hold’em knows that trips and big Poker Two Pairs have to be played hard.  Many players enjoy both hold’em and stud, but you can’t get them confused.  Trips and Poker Two Pairs in stud are not nearly as valuable as trips and sets in hold’em.

In stud, you just want to call with these hands.  The only reason you would want to raise is if it seems that the other players are very weak and they’re just trying to limp to the river as cheaply as possible.  For example, let’s say you have three kings and two players remain.  Both check to you and show nothing on the board.  Here, you could go ahead and bet – you’ll win extra money, since they are going to stay in anyway if they have stayed this far into the hand.

Rarely Lay Down That Hand

When we discussed flushes and straights, I mentioned that you need to look for a reason not to play the hand until the end.  This is true with trips and Poker Two Pairs as well – unless there is some compelling reason not to, play them until the end and hope they will either win you the pot alone or improve.  Four considerations will contribute to your decision to fold Poker Two Pairs on trips at sixth street:

  • The knowledge you have to your opponent
  • How serious the board looks
  • How many of your cards and your oppoment ‘s cards are live.
  • Which your hand is – trips or Poker Two Pair

While most of the time you won’t be folding, there are times when the decision is not that hard.  For instance, let’s say you have Poker Two Pair – jacks and 7s.  A jack and a7 are dead already, which leaves two cards that can help you.  A player with a pair of queens on the board bets, and he is raised by a four-flush.

Here, it’s clearly not the best move to stay in.  Sure, there are two cards in the deck that could give you a full house, but you are already an underdog to make the hand, and you are a huge underdog to win the pot.  You could be looking at a flush and either trip queens or queens full, which would beat your jacks full even if you make the hand.

Of course, another factor that will help you determine whether to stay or to fold will be what you hold – is it Poker Two Pair or trips?  I’d rather be holding trips at this point in the hand.  Calling two big bets can be justified with trips, but some warning bells had had better go off I your head when you are faced with two big bets while holding Poker Two Pair.

The reason is in the odds.  When you have trips with one card left, your odds against getting your ful house are 4 to 1.  With Poker Two Pair, however, they are 10 to 1.  Not good.  In either situation, if you do stay in, you’ll want to have live cards – but the decision to call two big bets is much more justifiable with trips than with Poker Two Pair.

Even if you are 4 to 1 against making a full house with trips, you’re probably getting good pot odds for your bet.  Two big bets in a $2/4 game would be eight dollars, and at this point the pot would probably have at least $ 32 in it.  Since you’re probably getting better than 4 to 1 pot odds on your bet, calling is clearly best, unless, of course, you are calling a bet raised by something that looks very dangerous, such as open trips on the board which are higher than your trips.  Even though you don’t want to foold at sixth street. You should generally do so with Poker Two Pair when you’re faced with two big bets – unless you really want to spend that money to chase one card that will help you when you are probably already beaten.

In my poker experience, facing two big bets on sixth street hasn’t been that common.  It’s much more common to face two big bets on the showdown at seventh street.  However, it still does happen occasionally on sixth street, so when you do face such a situation, you must determine whether to play when it will cost you a lot of chips to do so.  Stay in only when it looks like you can improve your had and when you are getting the right kind of pot ods.  Putting it simply, with two big bets, you’d better have trips that aren’t dwarfed by a bigger set of trips.


Should you ever fold your trips or Poker Two Pair when it’s just one bet to stay in?  Generally not, unless it looks like you’ll be beat.  Look back at the example of trips on the board.  Rarely will someone raise trips that are open for everyone to see, so folding against them when you have a smaller set or Poker Two Pair is certainly a wise decision.  So, too, is folding when you have too many dead cards to justify going on to the rivere and the board looks too tough.  Let’s say you have 10s and 6s.  Not too bad, but not too good either.  A 10 and a 6 are dead, a pair of aces bets, and now it’s to you.  Unless you’ve noticed that the other aces are dead, fold.

Quick Guide….
…. to Trips & Poker Two Pairs on Sixth Street:

  • RAISE rarely.  You can’t be feeling too certain about this hand, unless it looks like the other players are so weak and loose that they’ve been staying in for no reason.
  • CALL most of the time – you’ve stayed this far with your hand, so, if you can, stay to the end.
  • FOLD when you feel you will be beat.


You shouldn’t have played your pair past fifth street unless you were either getting cards for free or had possibilities for other hands, such as a fulsh or straght.  If your situation hasn’t improved here on sixth street and you’re still looking at a pair, don’t play unless you have four-to-a-straight or four-to-a-flush to go with your pair.  If that is the case, you’ll want to stick around to the end.  Your odds to get the flush are about 4 to 1, and your odds to get the straight are about 5 to 1.  You also have other outs, since you could improve to trips or a solid Poker Two Pair.  A four-dollar bet is going into a pot large enough to justify your calling.

Again, as with other hands, strongly consider folding if you have to call two big bets.  You are certainly in the weakest position here with just a pair – you could very well be drawing dead to a hand that will be bigger than your straight or flush if you should hit it.  While calling two big bets with a flush already made is much more justifiable, calling here isn’t – you’ll only hit that flush one out of every four times.  Unless that pot is enormous, fold.

Of course, don’t give any consideration to playing to seventh street with a pair that hasn’t improved to a four-straight or a four-flush.  If you stayed past fifth street with a pair because you were hoping to catch two running cards if your pair didn’t improve, and you didn’t get any help, mucky the hand.  Most of the time you wouldn’t have been playing this hand anyway, unless you had a lot of live cards.  Even if you did, it’s certainly not worth staying in the hand with a pair that has no chance to improve to a flush or straight – the most you’ll have in the end is trips.

Quick Guide….
…. to Pairs on Sixth Street:
  • CALL if you have a four-flush or four-straight to go with your paired.
  • FOLD if you were on a three-straight or three-flush with your pair at fifth street that didn’t improve here at sixth street.

Drawing Hands

Once you’ve stayed in the hand this long, you will want to look for a compelling reason not to continue and see this hand until the end.  These reasons rarely arise.

The only time you want to consider laying down your drawing hand (four-to-a-flush or four-to-a-straight) is when you get the strong feeling that you are drawing dead – if, for example, you held four-to-a-flush or four-to-a-straight, and you began to see a lot of heavy action on the board from hands that looked more powerful.

For instance, let’s say you hold 9 10 J Q, and your straights draw is live.  Before the betting gets to you, a four-flush bets, and the bettor is re-raised by a pair of queens.  You’re facing two big bets, so you need to fold this hand, since you are drawing dead to possibly two hands.

You can also base your decision whether to proceed on the status of your opponent’s live cards and your knowledge of your opponent.  If your opponent holds trip 6s, you have four-to-a-flush or good straight, and the action comes to you ad no one has raised, you can go ahead and stay in if you have seen two of his cards fall.  Studying your opponent’s playing style will also pey off.  You can go ahead and stick around if you know him to be the type of player who likes to try to scare people off.  You can fold if you know him to be the type of player who plays hard only when he has made a solid hand.