Poker Point

Playing on Four Cards to an Open-ended Staright

It is almost worthwhile to play in a Jackpot on an open-ended straight.

If three people, as well as the opener, are already in the pot, you have a five to one chance of filling your Straight--- and the pot is offering you seven and a half to one.

But if the pot has been doubled, your chances of success are less rosy.

Suppose that A has opened the pot, that B has doubled (putting up eight chips) in the hope of winning 42 chips, or 46 if the opener stays for the double.

To put up eight chips in this situation isn't worthwhile. For one thing, either G or A may re-double; for another, it is quite possible that one of the players already in for eight chips holds a better hand than that you can hope to make.

Where there has been no doubling, it's reasonable to assume that, if you make your Straight, you will win the pot; but where there are three or four players willing to stay for a double that assumption becomes invalid.

If you have played for four chips on an open-ended Straight, and are subsequently doubled, the situation is again different.

Suppose that A has opened the pot; that you, sitting in B's seat, elect to play; that the next four players throw in; and that G doubles.

Suppose that A accepts the double. You have now the choice of abandoning your four chips, or of putting up four more.

For those four chips the pot is now laying you the odds of over nine to one, since your first four chips are already in the pot and cannot be retrieved. You should cheerfully stake the second four chips demanded.

But if you have come in for four chips and are doubled while there are still other players who have an opportunity of redoubling, you would--- on a balance of considerations--- be well advised to retire.

On playing on four cards to a Flush--- you have a better position than a player who is drawing one card to an open-ended Straight.

The odds against your succeeding are shorter, and you will finish (if you fill your Flush) with a better hand. So the advice given above is equally applicable.

Now, how about the question: When should the opening stake be raised?

You should double the opener when you are second to speak and hold two small pairs (say, pairs below Queens up); and you should double him, wherever you are seated, if you hold Aces up or better.

If he, or another player, redoubles, you should not double again unless you have three Aces or better.