Making a 'Straight' in Poker

A straight is a hand that is made up of 5 cards in sequence - for instance 6-7-8-9-10. In order to make the hand all cards must not be of the same suit otherwise it would be a straight flush which is considerably stronger. Here is an example of a straight being made:

8 Heart 7 Spade 6 Heart 5 Spade 4 Spade

In the standard ranking of hands, a straight will beat three of a kind or worse however is beaten by a flush or better. If is relatively common for more than one player to hit a run at the same time - the highest ranking straight would win. The strength of the straight is determined by the highest card, for instance 6-7-8-9-10 would be the losing hand to 7-8-9-10-J.

Where a run is possible, players can either make the high or low end of the straight. So on a board of 6-7-8-9. The 10 would hit the higher (winning end) and the 5 the low end (losing). Where the best possible straight given the board, has been hit, this would be referred to as the 'nut straight'. It is sensible not to over commit or chase the low end, particularly in multi way pots and faced with aggression.

You should also consider the outs you need to hit your hand. If the flop came 6-7-8 and you held 10-4, whilst the 5 might look like a good card for you - actually it isn't great. The problem with chasing for a 5 is that this would make anyone holding a 9, a higher straight than you. It is therefore not a good strategy committing too big a chunk of your stack trying to catch what could be a losing proposition..

Common draws for straights are the 'back door straight' which refers to a player holding three cards in sequence whilst requiring the turn and river both to bring cards to make the hand. Another common draw is the 'gut shot straight draw' which is where you have four cards to the straight and the missing card is in the middle, for instance you hold 5-6-7-9 and need the 8 to make the hand.

The odds of hitting a straight are 1 in 254.80.


Important Beginners Guides..

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