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There are few feelings better in Stud games than looking down to a rolled up set on Third Street. When this happens, many of us start hearing cash register bells in our heads. While this is an awesome starting hand, the hand actually is a bit vulnerable in Stud 8 or Better due to the fact it is often a one-way only hand.

When you are rolled-up in Stud 8, it is nearly always correct to fast play the hand. The problem is that many players choose to slow play and then bemoan their bad luck when they lose the hand. Today we will take a look at rolled up sets and why you shouldn’t slow play them.

Slow Playing Rolled Up Sets – A Recipe for Suckouts

Many players when rolled up on third street immediately go into slow play mode. On the surface this seems like a solid strategy as you have the best possible high starter you could hope for.

Pay close attention to what I just said. You have the best possible HIGH starter you cold hope for. In the majority of cases that you’re rolled up, you are going for HIGH ONLY.

When you are dealt rolled up nines through kings, you have absolutely zero shot at low or to scoop. When you are dealt any other rolled up set, you must catch perfect for the remainder of the hand to catch low or to scoop.

Those of you that choose to slow play on Third Street are opening yourselves up for other players to come in and outdraw you. Yes, you are ahead on third street and odds are you are going to be ahead on fourth as well.

However, unless your opponents come in with bad hands or they catch badly, you will often be playing for half of the pot at best.

The Exception – Obvious High Opponents

There’s one exception to this rule that we should cover for the sake of completeness and that’s the rare times where you’re rolled up and someone comes in a clear high only hand. Let’s say you are rolled up with jacks and someone with a ten showing decides to come into the hand.

What are they holding? By normal stud thinking, they are probably holding a split pair of tens or they have some type of big three card draw. They might have a buried pair higher than your jacks. Either event, you are ahead on third and this is a spot where you might consider slow playing.

Two things to consider in this spot. If your opponent pairs their door card and that door card that’s higher than yours, be wary of a better set. Many times when someone pairs their high door card, they have trips.

Next, if a players starts going crazy betting on fourth or fifth street after catching a card higher than your door card, they might have had a buried pair and just caught a set.

Don’t Worry About “Telegraphing Your Play”

One argument that I hear against fast playing a rolled up set is that it “telegraphs your play.” The reason is that experienced Stud 8 players will often give you credit for being rolled up on third if you start regularly raising with a high door card.

At least that USED to be the popular sentiment.

From personal experience, this can be true but things have also changed in recent years. First, there are a lot of inexperienced players coming into mixed games that will not be thinking that deep.

Instead, they are going to either put your on a single big pair or buried aces. More often than not, they think you’re raising with aces. This is a bit of Hold’em thinking that creeps into Stud 8.

Next, even if a player thinks you might be rolled up, they don’t always act on that assumption. Some will come on in with a hand and hope to outdraw you or hope that their instinct is wrong about your hand.

Overall, it seems that only the tightest of players are going to give you credit for being rolled up and fold a decent. Of course, if you are playing super tight, then you might get a fold but if that’s the case, you need to reevaluate your play.

Fast Play Your Set Until You’re Behind

Rolled up sets are hands that you should be playing fast in this game until you find that you’re the nail. While a set is a great starting hand, you really cannot be comfortable until you fill up.

When you’re fast playing your set, be mindful of how other player hands are developing. If they are clearly going one way, keep on pumping the hand. However, if it appears that they may have outdrawn you or they are freerolling, it may be time to slow down.

Note that when I mention freerolling, I mean they have a low with a redraw to a high hand. If they have some type of weak low that appears to have little chance to scoop, keep pumping the pot if you are multi-way.

The truth is that there will be times that a rolled up set will lose. However, you need to play your hand fast from the deal in order to put yourself in the best position to win. Failing to do so will guarantee that you lose more often than necessary when rolled up.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.