Out of the 10 possible poker hands, a straight is the sixth strongest. During a game of online poker, there’s a high possibility that multiple straights will occur – and they often let you win the round. A straight is a sequence of five cards in a row (regardless of the suit.) For instance, if you held a jack of diamonds and 7 of spades and the dealer placed down a 10 of spades, 9 of hearts and 8 of clubs, a straight would appear: 7-8-9-10-J.
Due to the regularity of its occurrence in a game, it’s important to remain alert to their appearance. If you’re not paying close attention during a round, it’s easy to not spot it. The same goes for a flush. We discuss the ins and outs of a straight.
Playing a straight
Poker tournaments usually involve a lot of straights – some with high and others with low cards. It’s rare to have a straight after the flop, meaning opponents are usually chasing the straight; otherwise known as semi-bluffing. One of the greatest feelings in poker is seeing the card you want on the river. In other instances, you end up with nothing. One of the worst feelings is folding after the turn and seeing your card appear afterwards.
When you have a straight, don’t bet aggressively and scare off the field. If you make a big bet, people will assume you have a straight and fold. In online poker tournaments it’s all about maximizing these moments, also known as building the pot. Winning rounds in poker ebbs and flows, so it’s crucial to make the most of leading positions. The more players remain active, the more money enters the round. Let others do the betting for you, and call bets only when necessary. This is also a good way to gauge who’s invested in the round and to make a prediction on what cards they may have. The main question you should be asking yourself is, can their hand beat mine?
What beats a straight?
With a straight being the sixth strongest hand, there are five other hands that can beat a straight: royal flush, straight flush, four-of-a-kind, full house and flush. As good as a straight is, if you’re going up against any of the five stronger hands, you will lose. This is another reason why it’s so important to constantly analyze the community cards placed down by the dealer.
Identifying the “nut hand” – which refers to the round’s unbeatable hand – is the best way of clarifying whether your straight is in a strong enough position to win.
Risks associated with a straight
In some instances, your chances of winning with a straight can be very deceiving – often creating the most financially damaging moments in Texas Hold’em poker, or any other variation of the game. For example, if the dealer places down a 6 of clubs, 4 of hearts, jack of clubs, 5 of diamonds and king of hearts while you’re holding a 2 and 3, you have a straight (2-3-4-5-6.) While this may be a great hand to have, an opponent could be holding a 3 and 7, which makes their straight a stronger hand.
Moreover, try to not get blindsided when holding a straight. Beginners often find themselves so distracted by the thought of having a straight that they stop looking at what other hands are available. It’s not uncommon to have a straight and a flush in the same round. So, to avoid a big loss, be sure you’re always alert to other possible hands. Some of the most financially detrimental rounds experienced in poker occur when a player believes they have the strongest hand when, in fact, they don’t.
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Texas Hold’em poker remains our most popular variation. Because it’s easy to learn, it’s the perfect place to start. Another favored version is Omaha. Packed with action and played mostly by intermediates and above, players are dealt four cards. Exciting, fun, fast-paced and with so many cards in the hands of players, it opens up the game to many hand combinations which makes it thrilling, yet aggressive as strong hands are constantly being dealt throughout the game. Other available variations include 7-Card Stud and 5-Card Draw.
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