World Series of Poker Europe

Stud Poker Strategy - Looks Good But Isn't

Stud Poker Strategy - Looks Good But Isn't 0001

I spend a lot of time in these articles giving you the general theory with a couple of examples to illustrate the point. This time I'm going to do something very different. I'm going to just list a long series of hands that look good but that really aren't very good. I'm not going to spend much time at all on the theory; you can infer it.

You have {5-Clubs}{6-Spades}7d. You are in a game of moderately poor players who tend to call too much. But they aren't morons. You see around the table a 3d, a 7s, a Kc, an As, an 8d and 8c and a Qs. The 3d brings it in, the 7s folds, the Kc calls and the Ace raises. It's to you. You have three to a straight. It looks good. It isn't.

You have {A-Hearts}{K-Hearts}9s.. You're in a tight and aggressive $10/20 game. A 2d to your immediate right brings it in. A couple of picture cards are out but no Aces. One King is out. One heart is out. Looks good but isn't.

You have {8-Spades}{9-Clubs}9s. No 9s are out; no spades are out. An Ace calls and a King raises. Everyone folds to you. No good, though it may tempt you. Fold.

You have {K-Spades}{Q-Spades}Qd.. You see, starting on your left, Js, Tc, 4d, 2s, 6c, As, Qh.. You are in a $5/10 game with about half of the players quite tight and the other players loose and passive $1-5 players who have moved up to your game for the thrill. 2s brings it in for $2.00. The 6c raises to $5.00 and the Ace reraises. The Qh folds. Your move. A par of Queens looks good. It often is, but not now. Fold.

$20/40. A tight player with a 9h raises the bring-in. You have {8-Spades}{8-Clubs}Ad and you call. It's heads up on Fourth. You pair your Ace. The 9h catches a 9c. You bet $40. Your tight opponent raises to $80. Looks good having Aces up. Fold. It's no good. (You are a 4:1 underdog in case you were wondering).

You started with {6-Hearts}{7-Hearts}8h. Two hearts and a 9 folded on third street. The bring-in wasn't raised and four of you saw fourth street in this loose, sometimes wild $20/40 game. Fourth Street you hit an Ace of hearts, decided not to bet it, hoping someone else would, but everyone checked. Fifth Street you got a 3c. Someone paired a 4. A player with one club got an Ace of clubs. A person with KdQc got a Jh. Here's what you saw.


(x x )4s7d4s

(x x )Tc9hAc

(x x )KdQcJh

The 474 checked. The T9A checked. The 3-straight bet. You called with your 4-flush. The 474 raised (a check -raise in case you weren't paying attention). The next hand folded. The 3-straight re-raised. You faced two bets. Man, it looks good. Such a sweet looking pot and you on an Ace-flush draw. But it's not good. Fold this puppy.

A super loose-passive $1-5 game. You're practically the only one who initiates the betting. No one else raises much. You started with {9-Spades}{9-Clubs} As. You raised the bring-in to $5.00 and got four callers. You bet $5.00 on Fourth. Three callers. You checked Fifth when you didn't improve. Everyone else checked. Same on Sixth. On the River you caught your nine for trips. You were still high and bet. Here's what happened.

(99)AK76(9) Bet $5.00

{x-}Td8sJdAd(x) Raised to $10.00

{x-}8h6hKs5h(x) Re-raised to $15.00

{x-}2c3c4sJs(x) Call $15.00

Those trips look good — especially with such a juicy pot. They absolutely are going to lose. Fold them.

Think about each of these hands. See if you can figure out why they're not good hands. It shouldn't be too hard. But if it is please feel free to email me. Next time I'll deal with hands that look bad but aren't.

Ed note: No hand ever looks that bad at Doyle's Room

What do you think?

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