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THE “STUFF” OF WINNING POKER

THIRD STREET STRATEGY

FOURTH STREET STRATEGY

FIFTH STREET STRATEGY

SIXTH STREET STRATEGY

SEVENTH STREET STRATEGY

RULE FOR WINNING POKER

MORE RULES FOR WINNING POKER

TOURNAMENT TACTICS

CAN MAKE A LIVING PLAYING LOW TO MEDIUM-LIMIT POKER?

THE FINAL WORD

FOURTH STREET THE DRAWING HANDS

If you started with three to a straight poker flush and didn't get any improvement (to a four-straight, a four-flush, a four-straight-flush, or by pairing a big card), you can consider staying for another round if you have an overcard or two in your hand. But if its going to cost more than one bet, pass, whether you have overcards or not.

If you do catch a fourth card to your straight flush, and if your needed cards are still live, you'll be thinking in terms of going all bent out of shape about getting a straight flush. Remember, there are only two cards in the whole deck that can make your hand.

If a couple of players have paired their doorcards and the action gets heavy, you'll be tempted to think that you can beat these guys when they make their full houses because you have a straight flush. Not yet, and unlikely. Think instead in terms of how you'll play the hand if it develops into a flush or a straight.

Now do you want to go against the possibility of one or two full houses? If you think yes, well try to change your mind when we get to those lessons. In a multi-way hand (and most hands at these limits are multi-way), if the action is checked to you in late position, put in the maximum bet if you have an option in a spread-limit game.

If you win it right here, that's okay. If you get callers, that's okay too. In the same position, if there is a bet, just call if there will be a couple of other players in the pot, giving you good pot odds. But if its going to be just you against what looks like a big pair, raise the maximum. You'd like to win it right here and not have to play a drawing hand heads up. Losing is meaning less

If its bet and raised to you, think in terms of what you perceive you'll have to beat and whether you can beat it with your second-best outcome (which is your most likely outcome).

If you are in early position in multi-way poker hand, go ahead and bet. your hoping for callers, but if you get a raise, be guided again by what you think you'll have to beat, and whether you believe you can beat the raiser with your second-best outcome.

If you are heads up against a player who has a big pair, you are a bit of a dog. You must improve to win. If you think that a bet or raise will win the pot right now, go for set. If you are heads up against a player who is also on a drawing hand, play selectively aggressive.

If you pair a high card, begin thinking of that as your primary hand, especially if some of your needed suit have also appeared around the board. If you pair a low card, think seriously about folding, unless your side cards are overcards, and all of your cards are live. If you improve to a four-flush or four-straight, see the following lessons.

A mistake many otherwise good players make is automatically folding when they start with a three-flush and don't catch another suited card to make a four-flush on fourth street.

Flush Draws. There are other reasons to continue with the hand. If you now have a pair, especially a high pair that figures to be the biggest pair; if your needed cards (pair cards and suit cards) are still live; and if you now also have a three-straight combined with your three-flush (also live always live. Ill say it again, seven card stud is a game of live cards).

But if you haven't added any values to your hand, and if you still hold only a three-flush, give it up. The odds against catching the flush are 8.5-to-1. And if you don't make the four-flush at fifth street, the odds will go to 23-to-1.

When you do make a four-flush at fourth street, the chances of making the flush are excellent: only 1.25-to-1 against. You will most likely be staying to the end, unless one of your opponents is showing something such as two pair or trips, in which case you are in danger of making the flush and having it beaten.

A couple more reasons to decline further participation are if an opponent pairs his doorcard and appears to have made trips, or sf you see too many of your needed suit cards on the board. Its still a maximum of three for a quality flush draw, and two for a non-quality flush draw.

But if all factors are favorable and you do continue, do your checking, betting, and raising in such a way that you don't establish a pattern which can be read by your more astute opponents. Most players fall into one of two categories when it comes to betting or raising with four-flushes.

Either they never bet or raise a four-flush, or they always do. Either way, they soon become easy to read. So if I know that you bet your flush only after you’ve made it, why should I ever call you in that instance unless I can beat you? Mix up your play with a tendency towards aggressiveness. Keep your opponents off-balance.

Straight Draws. If you started with a 9-10-J or 10-J-Q, and didn't get any improvement to a four straight or by pairing a high card, your finished with it unless you can play for free.

If you catch a card that now gives you an inside straight draw, exercise your discipline. What often happens to players with this kind of very marginal improvement is that the little voice of the repressed gambler that lives in their mind whispers, We've improved.

Lets keep playing. Ignore that voice. That draw is a long-range loser. An exception would be if you now also have three-to-a-flush and an overcard to the board. You can call if someone bets, but you cant call a bet and a raise.

Much of what you have learned about staying with busted straight-flush draws or with busted flush draws, you can also apply to busted straight draws. When the drawing hand you are on goes bust, consider what other values you have with which to continue play; for example, pairing a high card. But don't just be looking for excuses to continue play.

Hold your discipline. Play when you have a positive expectation. Run when you don't.

Now, lets move on to the happier prospect of making a four-straight here on fourth street. Your first thought should be, are my cards still live? The rule of two points is still to be considered. Your next concern should be whether your opponents have caught something dangerous looking such as a big open pair which could be trips or two big pair.

You don't want to make your straight and then run into a full house. Its a real bear to work your way through a maze of strategy, remembering a board full of your opponents exposed and turned overcards, only to have your stack of chips look like it got stomped by an elephant after the showdown. And you can be sure that does happen.

Pay attention, or you'll be paying off your opponents.

If those dangers are not present, you will probably keep playing to the river, or until something dangerous does show up. Mostly, tend to just call with your four-straight unless you are in late position with some power cards showing. If you think you can either steal the pot now, or set up a steal on the next card, put in a raise.

That would be a semi-bluff, which is betting or raising with what you figure is not the best poker hand, but there are more cards coming that can make your hand. A total bluff is when there are no more cards coming and you can only win if you bet and your opponents fold.

It is very helpful to know who you cans teal from-and who you cant.

Here is another instance where knowledge of your opponents is important-remember, there is no substitute for it. The purpose of your tendency to just call when your only value is a drawing hand is to keep players in so that you will be getting the proper pot odds to draw to the hand.

If you started on third poker street with overcards only, you will want to have paired one of them before calling any fourth street bets. If you do pair, Fourth street high pairs. One of my boyhood idols was a college basketball player named EdMCauley. they called him Easy Ed. He was an All-American center at the University of Stuff. Louis, and later became a start in the NBA. One of my favorite quotations from Easy Ed:

When you are not practicing, someone somewhere, is practicing and when you meet, he will beat you.”

The application to poker is obvious. Get busy.

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