Keepin’ It Straight
What precisely is an open straight?
By Jerry “Stickman” Stitch
Appear at the method for just about any video poker game and you will find two various types of straight—an open (or much more accurately open-ended) straight and an inside straight. The terms open and inside also apply to straight flushes, which are just straights consisting of a single suit.
Most players, no matter how casual their play may possibly be, know somewhat instinctively that open straights are very good and inside straights are not so very good. The phase “never draw to an inside straight” is classic old school poker tips.
According to the Poker Dictionary, offered at pokerzone.com, an open-ended straight is defined as follows:
“A sequence of 4 cards of consecutive rank in which there are two possible card ranks that will full a straight as opposed to a one.”
Employing this definition a 5, 6, 7 and eight is an open straight. The 2, 3, 4 and 5 is also an open straight as is the ten, jack, queen and king. This is correct since the straight can be completed by drawing a card on either end of the sequence. In the 1st instance a 4 or a 9 would comprehensive the 5-card straight. In the second instance an ace or six would total the five-card sequence.  And, in the final instance, a 9 or an ace would comprehensive the 5-card sequence.
Numerous video poker players consider of an open straight as any sequence of cards with out a gap. They may possibly contemplate an ace, 2, three and four as an open straight.
It is not.
It is accurate that this is a four-card sequence that does not include a gap, but it can only be completed by drawing a card at one end of the sequence—a 5. For this reason, this sequence is regarded an inside straight. Rather than pondering of an open four-card straight (or straight flush) as a sequence of cards without a gap, it is better to consider of it as a sequence of cards that can be completed at either end of the sequence. Anything else is an inside straight.
What about 3-card straights?
The same guidelines apply. Just due to the fact the 3 cards are in sequence does not automatically qualify the hand as an open straight (flush). A hand containing a five, six and 7 would be an open straight (flush). It can be filled by drawing the three and four, the 8 and 9 or the 4 and 8. In other words, it can be completed by drawing two cards on either finish, or 1 on every finish.
A hand containing a 2, three and four would not be an open straight (flush). It can be completed by drawing a 5 and 6, and by drawing an ace and 5, but there is only one particular slot at the low finish of the sequence—the ace.
The very same rules apply to a two-card straight (flush). A hand containing a five and 6 is an open straight (flush) due to the fact it can be completed by drawing the next or preceding three cards in the sequence. Specifically, drawing a two, three and four or a 7, eight and 9 will full the straight (flush). Drawing a three, 4 and 7 or a 4, 7 and 8 will also complete the straight (flush).
What about a hand containing a 3 and four? It can be completed by drawing the five, 6, and 7. It can not be completed by drawing the 3 lower cards in sequence, even so, and only the ace and two slots are open.
Hopefully the above explanations and examples are clear to you. Rather than to define an open straight (flush) as a series of cards in sequence, it is significantly better to define an open straight (flush) as a hand that has a series of cards in sequence AND can be completed by filling either finish with the total quantity of slots remaining following discard.
The above definition functions fine as long as the game being played is a standard (non-wild card). If playing a wild card game such as deuces wild, the definition of an open straight (flush) has an extra requirement. That requirement is a wild card cannot be used to fill the gap and produce an open straight (flush). For example, in deuces wild a hand containing a 2, six, 7 and 8 is regarded as an open straight (flush). Even so, a hand containing a two, five, 7 and eight is not regarded as an open straight (flush) due to the fact the missing six cannot be filled by a wild card to be deemed an open straight (flush).
In order to make video poker play as lucrative as feasible, dealt hands have to be interpreted correctly. Improperly determining an inside straight (flush) as an open straight (flush) will drastically decrease the expected return. Take the time to determine that what you are seeing is in fact what you feel it is. That will pay dividends in the lengthy run.
How Would You Play These Hands?
Open and inside straights and straight flushes have been the subjects of this month’s report. Here are some hands that function open and inside straights/straight flushes.
These hands are played on a complete-pay (9-for-1 for a complete home and 6-for-1 for a flush) Jacks or Much better game with the max credits of five. The 1st hand is: two♦A♦four♦A♥5♦
This hand contains a high pair (A♦A♥), and 4 of an inside straight flush (two♦A♦four♦5♦). A lot far more frequently than not saving a high pair is the preferred play, but in this case we also have a very potent straight flush—even although it is an inside straight flush so only one card will full the hand.
Saving the high pair returns 7.683 credits. Saving the 4 card inside straight flush returns 11.915 credits—50 percent a lot more than the high pair and the significantly greater selection.
Let’s attempt one more fairly simple a single: 2♦three♦four♦five♦A♥
This hand consists of a straight (2♦3♦4♦5♦A♥), and 4 of an open straight flush (2♦3♦4♦5♦). Four of an open straight flush is a very effective hand as it can be filled from either end, and if filled, returns 50-for-1. Is that adequate to offset the positive four-for-1 return for the pat straight?
Saving the 4 of an open straight flush returns 17.234 credits on average—not very sufficient to overtake the 20 credit return for the straight.
The subsequent hand is a small closer: three♦4♦five♦Q♣J♣
This hand has two of a royal flush (Q♣J♣) and three of an open straight flush (3♦4♦5♦). The two of a royal are the strongest there are. Does three of an open straight flush have what it requires to overcome them?
Saving two of a royal returns three.123 credits. Saving 3 of an open straight flush—while still an general losing hand in the lengthy run—returns 3.150, generating it the better hand to save.
Let’s modify the final hand slightly, changing the 3 card open straight flush into a 3 card inside straight flush. The modified hand is: 2♦three♦4♦Q♣J♣
Notice that the 3 cards of the straight flush are in sequence (2♦3♦4♦). It is not an open straight flush, nonetheless, due to the fact it can not be filled by two cards on either finish. The five and 6 of diamonds will fill it on the higher finish, but the ace of diamonds is the only card attainable on the low finish.
Will this alter make a distinction in the preferred hold?
Saving the two of a royal flush nevertheless returns 3.123 credits. However, saving the three of an inside straight flush returns just 2.669 credits. Saving for the royal is a greater choice.
Now how about looking at some hands in a full spend deuces wild game? This is a great game to play—if you can find it. It returns 100.76 % with correct play. The spend table looks like this for five credits played:
Royal Flush (no wild cards)  4000
4 Deuces                     1000
Wild Royal Flush             125
5 Of a Sort                    75
Straight Flush                 45
4 Of a Kind                    25
Full Home                     15
3 Of a Type                     five
First hand: 5♣6♣7♣2♥Q♦
This hand consists of a wild card (2♥), four of an open straight flush (5♣6♣7♣2♥), and two of a royal flush (two♥Q♦).
Saving the lone wild card returns five.18 credits on typical while saving two of a royal flush returns just four.63 credits. The apparent best save—four of an open straight flush returns 11.27 credits.
Now let’s look at a slightly diverse hand. Let’s adjust the 6♣ to a six♥. This new hand is: 5♣6♥7♣2♥Q♦
In this case we no longer have a four card open straight flush save. Rather we have a 4 card open straight (5♣6♥7♣2♥), a 3 card inside straight flush (5♣7♣2♥), a two card royal flush (two♥Q♦), and a lone wild card (2♥).
Saving the 4 card open straight returns 5.000 credits. Saving the 3 card inside straight flush returns 4.921 credits. Saving the two card royal flush returns 4.635 credits and saving the lone wild card returns five.167 credits. The lone wild card is the ideal save for this hand.
Now, let’s slightly alter the hand 1 a lot more time by making the 5♣ a 5♥, and making the 6♥ a 6♣. The modified hand is: 5♥6♣7♣2♥Q♦
This hand now includes a four card open straight (5♥6♣7♣2♥), a 3 card open straight flush (6♣7♣2♥), a two card royal flush (2♥Q♦), and a lone wild card. Does this modify matter?
Saving the 4 card open straight nevertheless returns 5.000 credits. Saving the two card royal flush still returns 4.635 credits. Saving the lone wild card nevertheless returns 5.167 credits. Even so, saving the 3 card open straight flush now returns 5.402 credits, producing it the preferred save. Let’s appear at a single final hand for full-spend deuces wild: four♦five♦6♣8♦Q♥
This hand includes only two viable choices—four of an inside straight (four♦five♦6♣8♦) and 3 of an inside straight flush (4♦five♦eight♦). This hand is exciting in that it is a single of very handful of hands exactly where each of these attainable saves have precisely the identical expected return—1.702 credits. It does not matter which of the two attainable saves you make. In the extended run you will have the exact same return.