Monday, December 27, 2010

Fifth Street Tactics: Keeping opponents in versus driving them out

If you have a made low on Fifth Street and no one else does, it is often advantageous to keep players in the hand contributing to the pot. If the high hand is willing to bet, calling might be a more profitable option because you do not want to just get your money back if it becomes a heads-up contest with the high hand. However, there are situations where raising with the intent of driving others out of hand is preferable. Some examples:

-- Your low is vulnerable to another player with a low draw. Suppose you have (2, 4) A, 7, 8 and another player has an exposed 6, 3, 3. The pair means a low has not been made, but she could have a draw to a better low and she holds three cards that would improve your low. Your low hand is very vulnerable to becoming second best later in the hand. If the high bets you should raise and attempt to force her out.

-- You can freeroll your low for a powerful high hand and do not want other hands to compete against it for high. Suppose you have (2, 5) 3, 4, 7 in a multi-way pot in which one of the players appears to be on a flush draw. Another player with an exposed pair of 8s bets. You should raise to force out the flush draw. If you make your straight, you want it to hold up for high.

-- The high hand appears weak and possibly the result of a busted low. Suppose you have (6, 3) A, 5, 7 against a player with an exposed 2, 2, J. The pair of 2s might be the only thing he has going for him and pairing any one of your cards could lead to a better high. Aggressive raising might win the pot outright. He could judge that it is too risky to pursue the hand for high.

-- You have a lock on low in a multi-way pot in which raising will not drive the others out. There could be several powerful high hands that have developed or are developing in such a way that your opponents will pay any price to stay in the hand. Obviously in that situation, raising will maximize the amount in the pot and comes with no risk, even if you are drawing dead to high.