Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published in Poker Player newspaper in 2005.
This is part of a series by Diane McHaffie. She wasn’t a poker player when she began writing this series. These entries chronicle the lessons given to her personally by Mike Caro. Included in her remarkable poker-learning odyssey are additional comments, tips, and observations from Mike Caro.
Diane McHaffie is Director of Operations at Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy. She has traveled the world coordinating events and seminars in the interest of honest poker. You can write her online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lessons from MCU
— With bonus content by Mike Caro (pending) —
Lesson 43: More straights than you think
“Do you know what a ‘double belly buster straight’ is?” Mike asked me out of the blue.
“No,” I replied, knowing it would have something to do with straights, but not sure how. To me, belly buster generally has something to do with a really good joke that makes people laugh. I suppose a double belly buster could be a joke that is twice as funny, if it had to do with jokes, but he had added ‘straight’ to it, so it had to do with poker — and straights of a certain kind.
The full name is Double Belly Buster Straight Draw. It means that instead of just being able to hit one “gut-shot” (meaning an inside straight) draw, you have two chances of them going at the same time. For example, if I had a 7-8 and the flop was 4 – 6- 10, I could catch a 5 to have 4 -5 – 6 -7 -8 or I can catch a 9 for a 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10.
Mike said that I needed to read Richard Englesteen’s short contribution to Brunson’s Super/System, which is found on page 514 under ‘Hold ‘em Supplement’. A complete list of all the possibilities of a double belly buster straight is found there.
Overlooking the second straight
Mike says that this concept is really important for beginners to understand, because they often overlook the second inside straight and throw hands away in situations where they would have played an open-ended straight draw, which also has the ability to catch either of two ranks to complete the straight.
Actually Mike says the double belly buster straight try is just as good as an open-ended straight try — if not better, because it is deceptive and your opponents won’t figure you to have it.
You need to be able to see when you have the double belly buster straight and when your opponent could possibly have it, as well. Here are some more examples of a double belly buster straight: If you have an A–3, and the flop is 4–5–7, you need a 2 for 5‑4‑3‑2‑A or you need a 6 for 7-6-5-4-3. If you hold a 5-8, and the flop is 7-9-J, you can catch a 10 for J-10-9-8-7 or you can catch a 6 for 9-8-7-6-5. If you hold a 2-6 and the flop is 4-5-8, you can catch a 3 for 6-5-4-3-2 or you can catch a 7 for 8-7-6-5-4. If you hold an A-7 and the flop is 3-4-5, you can catch a 2 for 5-4-3-2-A or you could catch a 6 for 7-6-5-4-3. If you hold a 5-6 and the flop is 3-7-9, you can catch a 4 for 7-6-5-4-3 of you could catch an 8 for 9-8-7-6-5.
Adding to your image
When you make a double belly buster straight, many players are going to think that you made an inside straight without realizing that there’s a second possibility for a straight that you could have made. By using the double belly buster straight, you can add to your image of being a bigger gambler than normal. This, Mike says, gives you an added advantage that can gain you extra calls in the long run.
Whatever you do, though, don’t give it away that you had two straight possibilities that you could have made. That would underplay the psychological advantage that you had. It’s tempting to want to avoid opponents’ thinking you played poorly by going for an inside straight, but it’s really to your advantage if they do. So, don’t point out your double belly buster try. Tell them you made an “inside straight,” instead.
The next time you play hold ’em, practice being aware, after the flop, of when it’s possible that an opponent could have made a double belly buster straight.
Always check carefully to see if you may have made one as well. This is something I may have overlooked had Mike not pointed it out to me. Sometimes we see the obvious immediately, but don’t see other, more obscure possibilities, if we don’t look close enough. — DM