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Seventh Street Play

The Topic “Heads-Up on the End” in The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky has clearly covered your play when all the cards are out. It will occur rarely that you will be up against more than one rival. It is up to the reader’s thinking to determine the correct play, especially because of the kinds of variations that could happen in a multi-way pot are too many to go in detail. About the only point we would make is that when all the cards are out, if there is one rival who is forced to call you and you know you have him beat, it is worth betting your hand for value even if your other rival is drawing to beat you. Hence, if the bike draw has checked in the blind or has yet to act you still should bet a seven made into what you know is an eight if you are sure you will get called. You bet sometimes can cost you an extra bet but more often it will gain you a bet or two.

As said earlier, the theoretical play after all the cards are out is covered in The Theory of Poker. We shall see various theoretical plays that are applied to razz. On the end in razz, your possible plays can be separated into eight categories. Four of these categories arise when you are first to act, in which case you may come out betting or check with the intention of raising or check with the intention of calling or check with the intention of folding. When you are second to act, you have four possibilities, betting if he checks, folding, raising or calling if he bets out.

We will discuss those situations where you are second to act. The simple case arises when he bets and you are considering whether your hand is worth a call. Basically, the question is a matter of what your chances are of poker winning the hand as compared to the pot odds you are getting from the pot. So, if your rival bets $30 into a $210 pot you should call him if your chances of winning the hand are better than 8-to-1 (240-to-30) against you. Reading hands and knowing your rivals properly determines your chances of winning a hand.

Before we delve into the illustration of reading hands, we would like to point out that when you make your determination as to whether a call is profitable or not doesn’t automatically mean you have determined a correct play. It may also turn out that a raise is more even a better play. For instance, if in the situation just stated you think that you will win the pot 10 percent of the time by calling and 30 percent of the time by raising, you have a situation where a call is not worth it but a raise is. Here you will be getting 240-to-60 or 4-to-1 pot odds. It might occur that a call is profitable play but a raise is much more profitable. Again using this example if you think there is a 20 percent chance that will (because he will throw his hand away) it once again is better to raise. Plays like raising on the end in the expectation that the rival will throw away his hand for one last bet, can generally only be done against experts who are capable of throwing decent hands away.

The excellent example of play like this would be where you have what seems to have an easy call hand, but still you should raise. The aggressive rival will see that you had an easy call and will then reason why you would bother to raise unless you made a monster.
For example if he has

and you have

it can be a correct play to raise him with just an eight low. If your rival is a very good player he will say o himself, “Why would this guy raise with an eight low when he could just as easily have called with it expecting that I don’t have a seven? Now that he has raised he must beat my seven because if he didn’t he would just call with his eight expecting that I don’t have seven I am representing. Hence I will throw away my seven since he obviously has made an even better hand.” Of course you don’t have his seven beat but you have acknowledge making this big lay down and you thus can make that particular play. This is a play that arises against tough players in all different games. The main criteria behind it being that if it is clear that you have a good hand that is worth a call yet you still raise you must have an even better hand or why bother to raise? Your tough rivals will now throw a very good hands away knowing or thinking that he knows that you couldn't’t be bluffing at this point because you have no reason to even try it. The importance of this play in razz is that you have a calling hand. If a J-7-6-5 bet into your

you would be less inclined to bluff raise since he suspects that the king-queen may fear a raise with nothing. Only the point that the player has an 8 showing and thus have an easy call in the last example will convince the expert that he is up against better than an eight.

Keep in mind that the play of raising on the end expecting to get your rival to fold is usually only correct against expert tough players and actually only then if they don’t know that you are capable of one of these plays. It is very important that you know if you actually make this play and he does fold you do not show your hand or else you will never be able to make it again.

One time a raise on the end may be correct against a bad player poker playing when you do not have a good hand is when you have very strong feeling that he is bluffing but your hand cannot even beat his bluff. This can happen if he has something like

And you have

And in the manner the hand was played and the cards that were out, you felt it worth drawing to a nine and missed it and you now doubt he is betting a ten on the end as a bluff. Such kind of situations does not come up frequently and it is not worth going into deep.

Getting back to the tough situations where the decision is whether to call or fold, you should determine whether your chances of winning the pot are better than the pot odds you are getting. There are two ways that your hand can conceivably be better than that of the player who has bet into you. One way would be if he bluffing. The second way would be if he could be possibly betting a hand for value which does not have your hand beat. In many cases, when you call on the end you are hoping that he is bluffing. In order to make an evaluation about the chances your rival is bluffing, you should know your rival and also know how to read hands. Of course if you are up against a rival who never bluffs on the end no matter how the cards have come out, you should never call him if your reading poker hand can only beat a bluff. Against such kind of players you can only call if there is a chance that he is betting a decent hand that just doesn't’t happen to be as good as yours.

Against several players, there are some ways to determine the chances that he is bluffing on the end based on reading hands. The common situation where your rival may be bluffing is where he has forced to bet every round because of the order of the cards. In other words, say you have caught in order 3-8-J-6. If he only has a ten low, he might try to make you throw an eight low away. An even better example (where the other of both hands is important) would be where he has

And you have


If he happens to have two pair and a king low he will bluff in the expectation that you only have a jack-low. In this situation you have an automatic mathematical poker call since the chances that he can’t beat a jack-low, assuming he would bet always on the end, are going to be better than the odds you are getting.

The time to make a bluff-catching call against many players is where they appear to have an automatic check, but bet anyway. For instance, if a player has

And you have

And he bets that nine-eight into what is apparent draw Bonus Vip to a good low hand you have to start getting suspicious that perhaps somehow he doesn't’t even have the nine that, it seems, he almost has to have, because if he did have that nine-eight, he has what seems to be an automatic check. The fact that he has bet makes it appear that he might not even have the ten beat and is forced to bluff. This is a good opportunity to call him. When actual experts play against each other, the expert poker play will often bet the nine-or eight at that point knowing that his rival will feel this way about the hand and call him with a ten, but against the typical player this situation cries out for a call.


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