Need help with straights

B

Barrettm95

Enthusiast
Let me just start by saying: I hate straights.

I won a hand with one yestersay perhaps for the only time in my recent career. I have great difficulty recognising if there is a straight on the board or if I have one or a draw if it is the nut. Is there some rule or guideline I need to know? It's kind of a tell if im counting on my fingers at the table I need something more subtle. Flushes are better than straights but so much easier. If there are 3 suited cards somebody probably has a flush; simple. If you have A-x suited and three more pop up, you have the nut; again simple. Full houses are better yet and still easier than a straight to recognise. Pair on the board=possible. Trips on the board=likely. twopair on the board=almost definate and probably more than one player has one. and if you hit a set with the bigger pair you have the nut.
Yet I get bit in the ass by straights all the time. Some help please?

zachvac

Legend
Most of it will come with experience. One comment though, 2 pair on the board if you have the top one you do NOT have the nuts, a pocket pair of the lower pair on the board has made quads.

But back to straights.

If there are 2 cards in a row on the board, a third need only be 2 away (up or down), or obviously 1 away or next to it making it 3 in a row.
Example: 56 on the board. Possible draws to a straight would be a 2 (they have 34), a 3 (they have 24 or 47), a 4 (23 or 78), a 7 (89 or 34), an 8 (79 or 74), or a 9 (78). Now the other possibility is that there are 3 spaced evenly apart (ie 357 where they could have 46). Then there are the boards which only one card is needed for a straight, you've got boards with 4 in a row (pretty obvious) or 3 in a row with a gap on either side for the other one (ie 3457, 6 makes the straight).

I really don't know how much that helped you but you'll learn with experience. Good luck.

pigpen02

Legend
Straights are less obvious than anything else. That is why they tend to be trapping hands.

M

maltz

Guest
Hm it is mostly about your sensitivity of numbers. If you see numbers close to each other, you know there is a straight (draw) coming.

The worst case is that your opponent flopped a straight and is trapping you.
The chance of some guy flopping a straight is 0.39%.
It doesn't look a lot, but in a full table this number can be a lot higer for anyone to get lucky.

Cheetah

Guest
Barett, there is an easy way to tell whether your str8 is nut or not. Recognizing on board takes some practice.

Below are all possible str8s with 45678 that use BOTH your cards.
The red cards are yours, and the black are on the board.
The blue cards are possible cards for one of your opponents that beat your str8.

45678 - nut
45678 - nut
45678 - nut
45678 - 56789 is better
45678 - nut
45678 - nut
45678 - 56789 is better
45678 - nut
45678 - 56789 is better
45678 - 6789T is better

As you can see, IF the lowest card of the str8 is yours, then you don't have the nut str8. And vice versa, if the lowest card of the str8 is on the board, you DO have the nut str8.

What about str8s where only one of your cards is used? Here are all possibilities:

45678 - 56789 is better
45678 - 56789 is better
45678 - 56789 is better
45678 - 56789 and 6789T are better
45678 - 56789 and 6789T are better

As you can see, there is no way to have the nut str8 if only one of your cards is used UNLESS it is A in A-high str8. The reason should be clear from the list above. A better str8 always involves an overcard to the board cards. Obviously, if the board is TJQK and you hold the A for an A high str8 TJQKA, then it is the nuts with one card (which is the ONLY exception).

---------------------------

Another way to think about str8s that might help is to imagine str8s as a fork with 5 prongs. Two of the prongs are your cards. To make a str8, you need to "match" the other 3 prongs of the fork to the board.

Consider, for example, that you hold 48. There is only one way to make a str8 with both cards, namely to have on the board 567. From the examples above, you can see that it can never be the nut str8 since the low card of the str8 is yours. This is one reason to not draw to such str8s. The other is that there is ONLY one way to make a str8 with 48 using both cards.

Let's now list all possible connectors and imagine them as forks, where 2 of the prongs are our cards, and we try to match the other 3 with the board.

SC - possible str8s with both cards(underlined are NOT nuts)
---------------------------------------------------------------
48 - 45678
58 - 56789 45678
68 - 6789T 56789 45678
78 - 789TJ 6789T 56789 45678

As you can see, the closer the cards are, the more ways to make str8s. With no gap connectors, 4 ways(3 the nuts). With one gap connectors 3 ways(2 the nuts), with 2 gap connectors 2 ways(only one nuts), and with 3 gap "connectors" only one non-nut way.

Of course you can make many more str8 with one of your cards, but they are never the nuts and are very obvious on the board. Unless you have the top card, you can have no confidence at all. Even with a str8 like 9TJQK, you cannot be confident since AK beats you, so don't bet the farm with it .

A final note: As you approach low connectors and high connectors, there are fewer ways to make a str8. Here is the list of connectors that have FEWER chances because they are too low or too high.

34 - 34567 23456 A2345 (1 less str8)
24 - 23456 A2345 (1 less str8)
A4 - A2345 (1 less str8)
23 - 23456 A2345 (2 less str8s)
A3 - A2345 (2 less str8s)
A2 - A2345 (3 less str8s)

JQ - TJQKA 9TJQK 89TJQ (1 less str8)
JK - TJQKA 9TJQK (1 less str8)
JA - TJQKA (1 less str8)
QK - TJQKA 9TJQK (2 less str8s)
QA - TJQKA (2 less str8s)
KA - TJQKA (3 less str8s)

As you can see, the smallest SCs with full potential(max number of str8s possible) are 45, 35, 25 and A5. In other words, if the high number is 4 or less, you don't get full potential. Furthermore, you still get the non-desirable str8s (the low non-nuts).

On the other hand, for the high cards, if the low card is T, you get full str8 potential. If the low card is J or higher, you lose str8 possibilities. However, they are ALWAYS the nut str8 when you make them, so it is not as bad as with low cards. In addition, since people play high cards more than low cards, if someone has top pair or 2 pairs, it is easier to stack them with these str8s.

Str8s are harder to see, but this is why they make more money than flushes, so it is worth it to draw to them(just make sure you have the nut str8).

I hope these notes on str8s are helpful.

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Egon Towst

Cardschat Elite
Most of it will come with experience.

^^ this.

Practice. Avoid playing when you are tired. In time, you will read the board without even thinking about it.

B

Barrettm95

Enthusiast
Cheetah, that is incredibly helpful. To sum up: (if your simple rule is always true) using both my hole cards, if the lowest card is on the board, then I have the nut straight, if it is in my hand someone could have a better straight. And using only one hole card my straight is never the nut unless it is an ace and then it could still split. Thats the kind of easy to remember rule I was looking for. Thanks so much.

Cheetah

Guest
Cheetah, that is incredibly helpful. To sum up: (if your simple rule is always true) using both my hole cards, if the lowest card is on the board, then I have the nut straight, if it is in my hand someone could have a better straight. And using only one hole card my straight is never the nut unless it is an ace and then it could still split. Thats the kind of easy to remember rule I was looking for. Thanks so much.

You are welcome Barrett . And that rule IS true. I have listed all possible combinations in the examples above, so you can verify it for yourself.

And don't forget to re-evaluate on the turn and river. A nut str8 on the flop may no longer be the nuts on the turn or river.

Good luck.