Holdem Concepts of Fourth Street

There are two relevant concepts that will help you when playing on fourth street. The first concept is that you should tend to check hands with outs and to bet hands that, if already beaten, have no outs. Let's take a simple example. You hold

a third suited card appears on the fourth street and neither of your aces matches to that suit. The correct play against aggressive rival is to bet and then fold if you are raised. Notice that if your rival does not have a flush, you will not give him a free card that might beat you. However, you can usually safely throw away your hand.

The reason to throw away your hand for a raise is that when you bet, the third suited card on the board will look threatening to your rival as it does to you. Accordingly, it is unlikely for you to be raised (by a standard player) unless you are against a best hand. Notice that this play takes out of predicting the game. Had you checked, you might have attracted your rival to bluff but it would cost you two bets to keep him playable.

For the same, you should bet an over pair against non-tricky rivals when a smaller pair is on board. Also if you are raised, you can throw away your hand. The exception to this is when your over pair either aces or kings and you know you can persuade your rival to bluff. When you hold any one of these high pairs then it is not dangerous to give a free card.

Suppose when the third suited card hits on the fourth street and you make two pair. Here you are having outs. That is, it is likely to make a full house which will beat a flush and hence the situation is quite different. If you bet and are raised you can be sure that you are up against a flush and wish that you hadn't bet. Therefore the correct play in this situation would be to check and call.
For example you started with

And the board on the fourth street is

If you are first to act then you should simply check and call.

You should not always check two pair on the turn when a third suited card hits either on fourth street or fifth street. Suppose your rival checks to you and you think it is improbable that he would check a flush because he fears that you will fail to bet. In the latter case, you should put your chips in the pot. So if you are against three or more rivals and are first to act, the correct play for you would be to check. However, if the pot is short-handed and you are not afraid of the flush, you should strongly consider betting unless you have other reasons to check, especially if the action is checked to you.

As stated earlier you also need to consider who you are playing against. If you are against someone who plays accordingly as instructed in the text, it may be wrong to bet and whenever you have no outs you should fold. They may now be raising with a pair and a four-flush so that now you are throwing the best hand away very often. In addition, two aces will make two pair which can beat two smaller pair that you may be up against.

A similar situation occurs when you have two pair or a set on the turn, a third suited card hits, and your rival bets into you. The best play is to raise. Unless your rival has the nut flush, the aggressive player will just call even if he has a flush. (If he has a nut flush, your rival might wait until all the cards are out and then try to check-raise.) Now on the river, if the board pairs and gives you a full house, you should bet after your rival checks. However, if you do not improve, you should generally check behind him.

If you have the worse hand then playing in this manner will cause you to lose the same amount of money. However, if you improve to the full house, you will gain extra bet. The second advantage of this play (when you hold two pair) is that your rival may fold high pair or an over pair and thereby cannot draw out on you. (Also, you should play your hand the same if you hold two aces and one of your aces is of the same suit.)

Another significant concept relating fourth street play is that you should betting good hands on the flop but then often check-raising with them on the turn. This is the normal strategy as you will be giving up on many hands on fourth street. That is, you will not follow through on most of your semi-bluffs and/or the other weak hands that you normally bet on the flop. So you should check many more hands in order to avoid giving your hand away. Particularly when you are first to act, you should check on fourth street at least 60 percent of the time with your good and bad hands as long as free cards does not create any problem and your rivals are aggressive.

Here you are simply balancing your strategy. Because of the check-raise fear, your cautious rivals will be afraid to bet on the turn after you have checked thereby giving a free card when you do not hold much. However, less cautious rivals will be check-raised often when you have checked a good hand. If you play in such a fashion, the game would be profitable to you.

For example you started with

And on the board the flop comes

You bet on the flop, are called and you believe that you have the best hand. If a blank hit on fourth street which means it is possible for you to have the best hand, then you should check and be inclined to check-raise later if someone else bets.

The second time when you can make this play is when you make a semi-bluff bet against many rivals when you flop lower pair with an over card kicker and the turn gives you the three-of-a-kind. You should go ahead and check-raise. However, if you hit your kicker, especially if it is an ace, you should be ready to bet as the ace may frighten the rival who had you beat on the flop, out of betting.

The second benefit of checking more hands in an early position on fourth street is that when you do not have a good hand, thus depending on the board and what cards appears on the river, you should be able to steal the pot on the end if both you and your rival check on the turn. (Caution: Many players tend to call your bet if you check on fourth street, as they suspect you and want to keep you playable.)

There is one more exception to the above advice and that is when the game is very loose. So in that case you won't be making many semi-bluffs kind of bets on the flop, so it is not required to balance your strategy. But you can still check-raise more both on the flop and on the turn so as to limit the field. (Refer to "Part Four: Playing in Loose Games.")

Other Fourth Street Concepts

There are also other relevant fourth street concepts which will add significantly to your profits. It has been discussed in detail as given below.

First, you should not fear with cinch hands in certain situations. For example you have

And flop big two pair with a small card. You bet and two of them call your bet, one before you and other after you. A nine - which can give someone a straight - comes on fourth street and now the first player bets into you. How will you continue your play?

You should not fold in any case. Many tough players, if they do make a straight, would sure try for a check-raise. This player can easily be betting with hands like jacks and nine or with hand like

which has given him an inside straight draw to continue the play with his pair. Therefore, your correct play would be to raise. Your raise might make the player behind you to fold a hand like KQ, which is to your advantage. Notice that the king would give him a better two pair and that a ten would allow him to make a straight.

A play where expert players make against average rivals is to bluff on fourth street from an early position into many rivals when everyone has checked on the flop. This kind of play succeeds when the card on the turn is not an over card or a third suited card. When the pot is small your rivals will not want to call with less than high pair, as they will fear you may have been "sandbagging" on the flop. In addition, it is not likely that your rival will have high pair, as he would have bet it. The expert gets 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 odds on his play, and it works about more than half of the time as long as the game is not loose. In some games this play alone considers a large portion of your huge winnings.

An important idea to keep in mind is that some of your rivals are more likely to be weak if they bet the flop, as opposed to check-raising. The reason is some players tend to save their better hands for check-raising. Thus if you call a bet like this with a weak hand (on the flop) but now pick up something like a flush draw, this can be good chance for a semi-bluff raise as long as you are against someone who you believe is capable enough to throw away his average hands.

Even if you make this raise on fourth street, are called and do not improve on fifth street, you can still bet again. This is because of the size of the pot your rival will need to fold for this bluff to be correct.

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