Fourth Street Strategy


Many players (way too many) have made it a practice (or a habit) to always call at fourth street, because it is usually a small bet in a spread-limit game, and only a half-bet wager in a structured-limit game. Incorrect!

Continue playing because your hand warrants it, not just made up, Two dollars here, two dollars there, soon your out four dollars. And four dollars times fifty is enough to have your zeppelin polished three times. Now lets charge forward in our quest for holdem poker knowledge.


If you started with three-of-a-kind and haven't improved, you'll want to stay in anyhow. (Your only improvement on fourth street would be to four of a kind.) You probably still have the best hand. If you are first to act, bet-the maximum in a spread-limit game.

You want to discourage players who have made four-straights or four-flushes from drawing to those hands.  They will most likely stay anyway, but make them pay for the draw. Don't give them a free chance to beat you. Free cards are good to get, not good to give.

If someone has bet ahead of you, just call,unless there are two or three players yet to act after you who look like they have madefour-straights or four-flushes.

In that case, raise. Try to drive them out and narrow the field. While its true that you do have a good chance of making a full house and winning a big pot if they also make their hands, its also true that, with several of them drawing to those hands, you stand a higher chance of being beaten if you don't fill up.

If you are the high board but not showing a face card with your trips here at fourth street, bet the maximum. You don't want to miss any bets here. You wont be tripping the strength of your hand.

If they are small trips and you raised at third poker street your opponents (those who think of it at all at these medium and lower limits) will most likely have put you on a big pair at third street and, because they see no improvement here at fourth street, will figure that a big pair is still your maximum holding. Remember, most players are going to call at fourth street unless they have drawn a hopeless card.

If another player (one player) now has a pair showing whose rank is higher than your trips, two pair, or has added a pair to his drawing hand. What action did he take at third street? Did he raise showing a card bigger than your trips? He probably has trips larger than yours. Do you want to chase him? not me.

Of the three possible outcomes, two will be bad for you. If neither of you improves, he wins. If you improve and he doesn't, you win. One out of three outcomes in your favor. Cant pay the rent that way. If two or more players have paired their doorcards, the ranks of which are higher than your trips, you are probably beaten in at least one spot.

If a raising war develops, you are probably better off giving up your hand a tough thing to do, but if your beat, . Its a poker judgment call that you can only learn from studying the game, getting to know your opponents, and gaining experience. Mostly experience and that's something I cant give you.

In my years of playing, I've sometimes had to lay down trips in this situation. Only once did I discover that I had tossed the winning hand. So I am financially way ahead on the play.

In the same scenario as the one above, if your trips are higher than the ranks your opponents are showing, raise-and don't stop raising until the maximum amount of raises has been reached, or until you run out of chips. You have the best hand and the ability to drive out the straight and flush draws. If you win it right here at fourth street, fine. If the other trips stay with you, fine. Either way, you have the best of it.

You should usually play trips aggressively at fourth street unless you find a specific reason not to.

In fixed-limit games at public poker, a player showing a pair at fourth street has the option of making a single fourth street bet, or of making the double fifth-street bet. For example, in a $5-$10 game, you could bet either $5 or $10 on fourth street with an open pair. Most players will do one or the other, the same way each time. Good players tend toward making the double bet.

Don't you tend toward anything think first. If you pair your doorcard and now have four of a kind, whether you check, bet, or make it the double-bet depends on several factors: the value of your cards (how big they are); how many players your against; who those players are (good or bad); and, primarily, on what action will look most natural.

If you were the low card on third street showing a three in an unraised pot, and have caught another three here on fourth street, it would look perfectly natural to check. Your opponents probably will assume that you hold only the two threes you are showing which, if that's all you have, you wouldn't bet. Your slow play looks natural.

Most players, especially the good ones who know what a long shot four of a kind is, will be much more likely to put you on trips than on quads. If you check into a large field, you'll probably get a bet from someone. Even if you don't, you've given all these nice people a chance to catch up and make something, so that you can make some money.

If you have raised at third street with your small trips, or just called a raise, and have now caught another card of your rank here at fourth street, your opponents will most likely put you on two big pair or on small trips. Whether you bet the single or double bet still depends on the factors listed above- more rules for winning!

Heres an example from the other end of the scale: Suppose you started with big trips, three kings, and have caught the fourth king here at fourth street. Now your board shows a pair of kings. Single bet or double bet?

In this spot, what looks most natural can cost you money.

The mot natural looking move would be the double bet, announcing that your trying to win it right now. But of course your not. You want customers. To bet any amount would drive off those customers. But to check would look like your obviously trying to trap them-which, of course, you are.

But that's really your only option. Give them a free card and hope someone catches up enough to give you a play. Suppose you did start with a pair of threes and now catch a third three at fourth street. Play the same as if you had started with trip threes at third street and haven't improved on fourth street.

Against a large field, bet or raise the maximum (if you have an option in a spread-limit game) and try to reduce the competition. You want to drive a medium pair. You wont be able to get a large pair out, but get out those you can chase out with aggressive betting.


What the difference-hidden pair or split pair? Surprise value and amount of return on your money invested with a hidden pair.

To call a raise in either situation will cost you the same amount of money. But when you improve your hidden pair to trips, your opponent wont be able to see that, and will continue to play. When you improve the split pair by pairing your doorcard, your poker hands is transparen't and your opponent probably will fold.

So in the first instance, you figure to make a lot more money than in the second instance, but it costs you the same amount either way. You get a better return on your investment for the same amount of money. Most players at these limits routinely fold when an opponent pairs his doorcard, fearing trips.

That's a good, healthy fear. But don't fold automatically. Whether you play or fold depends on the value of his (possible) trips, and the size and liveliness of your pair. Lets suppose that you started at third street with a hidden pair of jacks in a raised pot. The raise came from a ten and your fairly certain, because of the other cards showing on the board and because of your knowledge of your opponent, that he has a pair of tens.

Another player calls, showing a four. You know that if he had three fours, he would have raised or reraised at third street. His most likely hand is two small pair, his top pair probably being sevens or eights. Your pair is higher than either of his pairs. If your cards are live, including your kickers, call.

But lets say that a jack raised on third street and a queen reraised. Remember, players at the middle and lower limits almost always have what they are representing, so if either of them pairs his doorcard here at fourth street, he most likely has trips. Even if you have a pair of aces, you should pass at these limits, unless your cards are all live and his are dead.

Then consider taking off another card for the small half-bet here on fourth street. But be aware that you are running uphill. Don't get married to your aces. Generally speaking, you want to avoid chasing any pair that is higher than your pair unless you have a couple of overcards to your opponents pair, and all of your cards are live while his are not, or your pair is hidden.

You'll even want to show respect for your opponents overcards. If you started with a pair of queens and have gotten no help here on fourth street, and if your opponents board now shows an ace and a king, even if you think he doesn't have a pair of either of them, you are not in a good place to show a profit if his poker cards are live. And if one of your queens is gone, which reduces your chances of making trips, you are most likely about to become a contributor.

If you suspect (or know) that your opponent has two pair while you still have only one pair, you can continue to play if your pair is higher than either of his suspected pairs and if all of your cards are live. Otherwise, fold.

If no one has improved and you figure that your high pair is the best hand, bet the maximum. You'd like to win it right here, or set yourself up to take it with a fifth-street bet if you catch a scare card. If your high pair has improved to trips.



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