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Fourth Street

In general, the biggest mistake you can make in stud eight-or-better is to call frequently on fourth street when you catch a bad card – especially if you are going low and your opponents catch a second good low card.

This is because that second low card must help them in one way or another. ( If it doesn’t improve their lows, it pairs them.)

For instance, suppose you are high and a couple of your opponents catch another low card that is close in rank to their third-street cards.

In this situations, you might be against more than one four straight, as well as a low draw.

It is now time to fold your high hand. If you don’t fold, you often will not know how to play your hand and will get jammed.

However, if the pot is heads up, your opponent who appears to be going low catches a fourth street card close in rank to his third-street card, and you hold a good high hand, you can take a card off.

Suppose you start with three low cards in a multiway pot, there is a high hand against you, and someone has raised with a wheel card up, showing early strength.

This player then catches another small card close in rank to his door card, which means he could have a four-card straight.

You also make a four-card low by catching a seven or an eight, which leaves you with what looks like the second-best low draw (and a rough one at that).

Unless you also have a straight or flush draw, you almost always should go out. Most players don’t fold in this spot.

They take off another card to see whether the other low hand will miss. This is wrong.

The only time it is correct to play in this situation is when you are last to act, so you know you will not be raised.

If you are not last, the other players will be quick to raise, because they know you are drawing to only a rough low with virtually no chance of making high hand.

They will not be afraid to punish you. Suppose you have a hand like and an opponent has a hand like notice that you have no straight draw.

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The high bets, and your opponent holding the low hand now raise. You must muck your hand, as you are going to be second-best in what easily could be a jammed pot.

If you are going to play this hand, you should reraise and try to knock out the high hand. (I don’t recommend that you do this often.) Your reraise should scare the player with the high hands and may make him fold a hand like two queens.

Now you’ll get to play heads up against the other low hand and will have a better chance. Still, it is best to throw these hands away in this situation.

They are money losers, even if it is possible that you might have the best low hand.

Remember, you have to call a raise, you are playing for only a small share of the pot, you don’t know where you stand, and many of the cards left in the deck that the raiser can catch are very scary for you.

A call in this situation is justified only if there is no raise. Suppose you start with a small three straight and catch close to perfect. In this case, just go ahead and bet the hand for value. Usually most everyone will call, because:

    1. They won’t know what you have,
    2. They will hope to catch up, or
    3. The pot will look bigger to them than it really is.

Don’t get tricky. Play your hand straightforward.

That is, bet it. If you are playing for a high hand, and on fourth street your cards start to fall a bit dead, it is probably best to get out when you are looking at an opponent with two low cards.

It is not that your hand has gone to a percentages loser, but that it is a playing loser.

The player going low will be able to outplay you, you won’t always know where you stand, and your hand will be tougher to improve.

If you catch a bad card on fourth street and are against two opponents who have both caught low straight cards to go along with their low third-street cards, you probably should get out, even if your cards are live.

If one opponent caught good and the other caught bad, you might want to bet, raise, or check-raise and try to force the low hand that caught bad to fold. ( However, if he is a decent player, he will fold anyway, so a call usually will be enough.)

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Introduction / General Strategy / How Far Do You Go?

Fourth Street

Check-Raising on Fourth and Fifth Streets

Fifth Street / Sixth Street / Seventh Street

Afterthought

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