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Sixth-Street Strategy

Introduction

When you (or your rivals) have paid for a sixth card, you have committed yourself to the end. So it is obligatory that you should have either a good hand already made, or a draw to a good hand.

By a made hand, you can play it aggressively. Your rivals have more of a commitment to the pot and will stay to the end

We shall discuss three kinds of sixth-street hands: strong, middle-good and weak.

Strong Hands

If you have a strong hand (such as a straight flush, four-of-kind, or a big full house) and you are first to act, try to determine from your rivals' upcards and from your knowledge of your rivals, whether checking or betting will make you much profitable. Most of the players check at this point; others always bet. Don't do anything automatically. You should bet if you have only one rival and you think he will call. But if you think that your bet will make him fold, check. You don't want him to do fold. Give him a chance to catch up.

You can check more if you have several rivals, especially if you think that another early-position player will do the betting if you check. If the player to your left bets and several poker players call before the action gets back to you, you can now put in a raise. Your rivals have committed themselves to the pot and have made it that much more difficult to throw away their hand, whether they are still drawing or already have made a hand. The benefit of check-raising on sixth-street is that there is one more card to come and your rival is hoping to make their hands best. You have a good chance of getting a call from a four-flush on sixth-street, but you have no chance of getting a call from that hand on seventh-street if he doesn't complete it.

If everyone checks, you have missed a bet, but if no one can bet here at sixth-street, they don't have enough to call with either. You have given a chance to make their hands at seventh-street and give you a play so that you can win a few more bets.

Middle good Hands

If you have a middle-good hand such as flush, a straight, trips, or two high pair, determine your rivals' hands. If you think that your hand is the best, push it hard. If you have a good hand that you suspect might not be the best hand, and you are hesitant to throw it away, try to reach the showdown as cheaply as possible.

More raising between two rivals who are each showing pairs could very well mean that at least one of them has a full house. In this case you might have to toss your middle good hand. Try to use your best judgment collect information to make a decision. Here again, knowledge of rivals is important.

If you have four-to-a-flush or four-to-a-straight with live cards, you will want to play to the end, unless it is clear that you will be beaten even if you do make the hand. A player showing four-of-a-flush at sixth-street with higher cards than yours either has you beaten already, or has a draw to a hand that will beat you if he makes it. Have you been watching the board so that you know how many of his cards and how many of your cards are still live?

Weak Hands

If you are having a weak hand you have not improved your starting hand (except for trips or the high pair) you should be fold, unless you have been able to play this far for free. If your rivals with little stronger hands have been giving you free cards, then they are making mistakes. If you have been giving free cards with the best hand because it wasn't a strong hand, you are then making mistakes in this case. With the best hand, get your chips into the pot. Do not allow your rivals to get free cards.

The more you progress with a hand, the more significant a study of the board becomes. You should know which cards have shown and which have been faced up

To require skill and experience you just need more and more practice. The best time to practice is when you are not involved in the hand. When it is clear from your first three cards at third-street that you are not going to play the hand, try to remember the exposed cards which your rivals had folded. This process will become automatic as far as possible. An admonition: You cannot remember a card you have not yet seen.

A two-pair is improbable to improve on the seventh card still it has a reasonable chance to win an average pot but not big pot, at these limits. A large pot got large because big hands have been competing for it. A raise will not protect your hand at this point. Strong betting action from a rival showing a pair greater than either of your pairs makes even a call a doubtful action.

If you have been playing with one pair, two pair, trips against one rival who just been calling and now he gets a third suited card at sixth-street and either bets or raises look to see if his doorcard is the same suit as the one he has now caught. If so, he has made a flush. A player who makes a flush generally makes it in the suit of his doorcard. If he hasn't made a flush, he has made a two pair or trips and is trying to win the pot. Call if you have a good live draw to a hand which will beat him. If you think you have the best hand, raise maximum.

If you throw away a lot of hands on sixth-street, you are doing some mistakes at both fifth and sixth-streets

You are not so strong enough to stay at fifth-street of stud poker. Most players often convince themselves by saying, I'll see just one more card and if I don't make it I'll fold. But then if they don't make it at sixth-street it's easy to say the same thing because there is only one more card to come so they might as well see it, too. Then they will find themselves paying off a better hand at seventh-street.

Throwing the hand on sixth-street should be a rarity. The pot will likely be providing good enough pot odds for you to play, even if you are a little underdog. An exception would be if you are now beaten strongly or if your needed cards are shown all over the board. For example, you have a straight or a flush, or a draw to one of those hands but two players, each showing pairs, have started a raising war. Or suppose you started trips, especially if they are higher than both of your pairs. If you don't make a full house at seventh-street you lose. And if both of you made full houses, his hand would be higher than yours.

Your sixth-street hand is likely to be your seventh-street hand. Therefore you should play it accordingly unless it is a monster and you are expecting to keep your rivals in the hand playing to the end.

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