Play Small Trips Fast and Big Trips Slow

published on 10/19/06 at 4:43 am

How to play three of a kind “wired” (on your first three cards) is a problem we would all like to have when playing in a Stud poker game. You won’t get dealt rolled up trips very often, less than 3 times in 1000, but you will be playing thousands of hands in your Seven Card Stud career, so it will happen, and when it does you should know how to take full advantage of it.

The conventional wisdom is that if you have a small three of a kind, such as three eights or three fours, you should play them very aggressively, betting and raising right away. The reason for this is when you bet or raise with something like an 8 showing, your opponents will put you on a hand like A 8 8, 9 8 8, or X X 8 where X X is another pair. You will almost always get called by a player holding a pair higher than 8s and you will usually get called by any good hand with a big card like an ace or king. If your bet gets someone to throw away an overpair, that’s fine for you, since if one of those players were to catch another card of the same rank to go with their pair, they would have you beat.

A big three of a kind, like QQQ, KKK, or AAA, is too strong to risk losing everyone right away, so you should be reluctant to bet in this situation. Since you have a powerful up card, you may lose many players who only put you on a pair of one of the cards above. Since there are only three cards dealt, no one can have a shot at a straight or a flush yet, so there is no harm in letting them catch up.

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