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Beginners Stud 8 - Lesson 7: 5th Street

"An ignorant person is one who doesn't know what you have just found out." - Will Rogers

On fifth street, the betting limits double, and it's possible you've made your hand. It's also possible that Mr. Murphy has intervened and you've gone brick-brick. Usually, on fifth street the field begins to thin (typically to three or four players at most) as the double-brickers exit the hand.

In this lesson we'll look at the times you've made your hand, when you've completely missed with your hand (brick-brick), when you have a scary-looking board but garbage underneath, and when you're facing a scary board. A key consideration is how you characterize your opponents. Are they straightforward, or are they more of the devious type?

You've Made Your Hand.

There are two cases: you have a made low or you have a high hand that's unlikely to be beaten (at least a straight). Let's take the high case first.

Given that you will almost always be facing low draws, betting is mandatory. You must make your opponents pay for their draws. Let's say that you have (76)8T9 and are facing 27K and 5QA. The AQ5 bets, should you call or raise?

You must raise. If either of your opponents makes their low, you will get only half the pot. Additionally, it is possible that the K72 has a flush draw. Indeed, slow-playing in stud high/low is extremely rare on fifth street (and later streets), especially in the low-limit games. If you have an extremely good high hand (say a full house), and you're certain that someone will bet behind you, then going for a check-raise is acceptable. But you had better be 100% certain that someone is going to bet.

Now let's examine when you have a made low. First, if you make a wheel, bet and keep on betting. In low-limit games, you will be called (and, on occasion, raised). You must maximize your money.

But let's be real; more likely, assume you've made a mediocre low (say a rough seven: 7652A with no flush draw). You're facing three opponents. Their up-cards are: 23K, QQ5, and 7AJ. The pair of queens bets and the AJ7 calls. You should raise. Given that the goal in stud high/low is to scoop, you need to maximize your chances of winning all of the pot. When you have one side locked up (and right now, you are winning the low), bet and keep on betting as long as you're the favorite.

Let's change your hand so that your low is an eight-low: 8763A. Let's also say that you're facing four opponents-the three from the above example, and one whose up cards are 6AK. You're facing three opponents going after the low. Most of the time your hand must improve in order for you to win half the pot because one of these players will (statistically) make their low-a better low than what you currently have. As in the first example, assume the pair of queens bets, the AK6 calls, and the AJ7 also calls. In a low-limit game, a raise is unlikely to drive out anyone; thus, I would just call because I am not the favorite on the hand.

You've Completely Missed Your Hand.

Suppose you begin with a great starting hand, such as (A2)3. On fourth street you caught the Q, and on fifth street you catch the 9. Meanwhile, your three opponents have all caught good. Stud high/low can be a very frustrating game. You must fold because to draw to catch two perfect cards is definitely a negative EV (expected value) move. Look at the bright side: at least you didn't start off with four perfect cards and catch three bricks in a row.

When You Have a Scary Board But...

Let's say that you have a scary board: 234. You had brought the hand in with the 2, and no one raised. On fourth street your opponents up cards were 57, 3T, 47, and 63. On fourth street the T3 checked, the 74 bet, and everyone called except the T3. On fifth street your opponents' cards are 579, 478, and 63K. The K63 checks. Should you bet or check?

Did you notice what I left out? Yes, I didn't mention your hole cards.

If this were razz (seven stud for low only), you should bet no matter what your hole cards are. Razz is a game of representing hands. Here, though, you're playing stud high/low, and you will likely have to show down a hand. What kind of opponents do you have?

If your opponents are very unaware, then you should bet no matter what your hole cards are. That is, if they are likely to think that when you bet you hold a real hand, then bet as if you have a real hand no matter what. More likely, though, your opponents will remember that you had the bring-in, and that you might not have good cards underneath. Additionally, you are up against someone with a probable made low, so you're not likely going to drive everyone out of the pot with a bet. So let's evaluate what you should do with several different sets of hole cards: K9, 78, QJ, and 8J.

With K9, you should have folded on fourth street. So you definitely shouldn't bet on fifth street. With 78, you should bet because you have a made low with redraws. With the QJ, my action would depend on my opponents. I'm likely to check and call in most games. With the made flush (8J) I will bet, of course.

When You're Facing a Scary Board.

Now suppose it's you who are looking at a scary board. You started with a good hand, say (67)8, caught the 3 on fourth street but the K on fifth street. Your opponents' boards are 9K5, 235, and 7J6. The K95 bets, and the 532 raises. The J76 calls. Should you call, re-raise, or fold?

 

When I'm facing this kind of decision, I always play back the betting in my head. Usually this gives me clues as to what my opponent likely holds. Additionally, if my opponent called a completion on third street, it's much more likely he has a real hand. Then I compare my holding with what all of my opponents likely hold. Here, the K95 presumably has a high hand. The J76 likely has a low draw. Both of these opponents have better draws for high and low than I do. Folding is correct even before considering what the raiser holds. Always remember, the goal is to scoop the pot. Secondarily, we can continue with a hand if we have a strong likelihood of winning either the low or the high. Here, we have neither.

Let's change our hand to (34)56K, and leave the other hands the same. On third street, the 2 had brought in the hand, you completed, and he called (along with the other players). On fourth street, the K bet, and all called. The betting on fifth street is the same, and you're faced with the same decision. Ignoring your failure to raise on fourth street, here you have a clear call. True, the 532 likely has a real hand, but you also have a draw to an excellent high and low. You have scoop potential and should continue on.

In the next lesson we'll look at sixth street. While we'll spend a little bit of time on scary boards and ugly boards, the primary focus will be on pot odds and card reading. Card reading is an essential skill for stud, as well as for hold'em.

In the next lesson we'll look at fifth street. The betting limits double, and those who brick really pay if they stick around.

QUIZ.

In this quiz we will look at some fourth street situations in seven-card stud high/low. Assume that you're playing in a $10/$20 stud high/low game with a $1 ante and a $3 bring-in.

QUIZ. In this quiz we will look at some fifth street situations in seven-card stud high/low. Assume that you're playing in a $10/$20 stud high/low game with a $1 ante and a $3 bring-in. Unless otherwise noted, Bill brings in the hand with the 2, Cal completes with the A, Don calls with the 6, Ed folds the 7, Fern calls with the 6, George folds the Q, Hal calls with the 4, and Bill folds. (You act after Hal but before Bill.) On fourth street, Cal catches the 9, Don the 3, Fern the 7, and Hal the 9. Cal bets, and only Hal folds.

1. You hold (85)A2 and have called the betting so far. On fifth street, Cal catches the K, Don the A, Fern the 9, and you catch the 7. Cal bets $20, Don raises to $40, and Fern calls. Do you (a) fold, (b) call, or (c) re-raise to $60?
[Check Your Answer]

2. Assume the same hand as in problem 1 except that Don calls Cal's bet, and Fern folds. Do you (a) fold, (b) call, or (c) raise to $40?
[Check Your Answer]

3. Assume the same hand as in problem 1 except that your hole cards are the 5 and 4. Do you (a) fold, (b) call, or (c) re-raise to $60?
[Check Your Answer]

4. You hold (KK)96 and have called the betting so far. On fifth street, Cal catches the 8, Don the J, Fern the 5, and you catch the T. Cal bets $20, Don calls, but Fern raises to $40. Do you (a) fold, (b) call, or (c) re-raise to $60?
[Check Your Answer]

5. Assume the same hand as in problem 4 except that on third street, you raised to $20, with everyone calling (except Bill who folded). On fourth street, Cal checked, Don checked, Fern checked, and you bet $10. Cal called, Don raised to $20, Fern called, you raised to $30, Cal folded, and Don and Fern called. On fifth street, Don checked and Fern bet $20. Do you (a) fold, (b) call, or (c) raise to $40?
[Check Your Answer]

6. Assume the same hand as in problem 5 except that on fifth street, everyone checks to you. Do you (a) check, or (b) bet $20?
[Check Your Answer]

7. You hold (58)A9 and have called the betting so far. On fifth street, Cal catches the J, Don the 7, Fern the 9, and you catch the T. Cal checks, Fern bets $20, and Hal calls. Do you (a) fold, (b) call, or (c) raise to $40?
[Check Your Answer]

8. Assume the same hand as in problem 7 except that you raised on third street, with everyone but Bill calling. On fourth street, it was checked to you, you bet $10, and everyone called. On fifth street, it is again checked to you. Do you (a) check or (b) bet $20?
[Check Your Answer]

9. Assume the same hand as in problem 8. You bet $20 on fifth street. Cal raises to $40, Don re-raises to $60, Fern folding. Do you (a) fold, (b) call, or (c) re-raise to $80?
[Check Your Answer]

10. Assume the same hand as in problem 8 except that you catch the A on fifth street. The third and fourth street betting is the same as in problem 8. You are first to act on fifth street. Do you (a) check or (b) bet $20?
[Check Your Answer]

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