Quality and Non-Quality
What are quality and non-quality? They relate to poker overcards. Three big suited cards, overcards, would be the most “quality” of quality flush starts. But a three-flush with two big cards, overcards also makes a quality flush starts.
However, a 7-4-2 suited would be the least quality of flush starts. But what you want to know is how they play, or are played differently.
How you play a three-flush depends on various factors
The factors include how big your cards are i.e. quality or non-quality three flushes), what you are showing for an upcard, your position and how many of your suit are already out in other players' third-street hands.
Let's eliminate one play: If you see that more than two of your suits are out, fold a non-quality three-flush unless you are in the correct situation for an ante steal. It is not worth playing with three or more of your suit gone. If you have a quality three-flush, you can afford to have three of your suit out. This is because you have ways to get best improvement other than extending the flush draw at fourth-street by pairing one of your high cards.
If you have not seen any of the flush cards exposed, almost any three-flush is playable. An exception would be if you have three small cards and someone raises on third-street at middle or lower limits almost always have the power they are showing. It depends on you to determine which players will raise representing, but not holding, power. Also while playing stud poker or any poker games, you should know that there is no substitute for knowledge of your rivals.
You should not be excited about playing a small three-flush in every early position, no matter how many of your suits are out, if you see many big cards behind you yet to act – especially if those big cards are in the hands of aggressive players who tend to raise more without the power they are representing. Just the reason that the player raised with that big card, even if it is his only one, makes you an underdog with your three small cards. There is always the possibility of a raise from one of those players who does have the top stud pair he is representing.
Playing a small flush draw against a big pair heads-up
In that case, you will be an underdog. Even if you win the hand, which is possible only about one-in-five tries, you won't make enough money with only one player putting in money against you to make up for the other four times you put in your money and lose.
Therefore in the early position, the problem you face with the small three-flush is that you don't know how many people will call behind you, much less how many will raise. You lack information. You just make guesses without information. And if you are guessing, you are gambling. The reason to learn these concepts is to take the gamble out of your game.
Let's assume that you have a non-quality three-flush containing one big card in the middle position with no one yet having calling the bring-in bet. You call. The second player, showing a jack raises. Everyone folds including the lower cards. You will be in a position of playing a big pair. You are a strong underdog in this situation. Should you call or fold?
Conventional poker wisdom says that you can call such a raise only if your hand includes an ace.
You should have one overcard to the pair you think your rival is raising with
It is likely possible that your rival's is holding a pair of jacks. Your one big card is a hidden queen, a live queen. Call or fold?
But we haven't considered a raise. If your rival is aggressive, a re-raise from you will bring another raise from him. And you don't want to get mixed up with the raising war because at this point you don't have the best hand. So just call and take off the card. (Think of multi-way, best hand or best draw; heads-up, best hand.)
If that queen, instead of being hidden, is your upcard and if your rival is a player who is capable of folding a pair of jacks (thinking he has been re-raised by a bigger pair or by trips that you slow-played in the second round), try the raise. If he calls, you are not in a good position, but you do have outs with your semi-bluff (catching a queen or the flush).
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