The technique below demonstrates how to play each of the opening hands. Gordon Michaels created it, and I'm grateful to him for allowing me to share it.
Three-card straight, three-card flush, and three-of-a-kind — On your three cards, always BET and STAND.
Pair: BET, and discard your unpaired card before drawing to your pair. The lone exception is when the ace is suited to one of the deuces in 2-2-A, in which case the unsuited deuce is discarded.
On the other hand, the drawing method is a little more complicated, and it's discussed further below. The betting approach is more straightforward: raise with any of the following and fold otherwise:
- With a score of Q98 or higher, or
- two cards of the same suit, or
- Two cards in a row (open-ended straight draw), or
- J-9 or T-8
The drawing technique with three singletons of different suits is shown below.
- AKx, AQx: Draw the top two cards.
- The draw to any A3 or A2 is the second priority. Otherwise, draw the top two cards. Except for K32, it is preferable to draw to K3 rather than 32.
- Q9x – 53x: Draw to any two cards of adjacent rank if you can. The draw to a J9 or T8 is the second priority. FOLD if all else fails. With two suited cards, draw to a High-Card Hand.
You will always gamble, discard, and draw a card if you are dealt a high card with two suited cards. In general, you should draw two suited cards. However, it is sometimes better to draw two very high cards (Ax, Kx) or two unsuited cards that make up a straight draw. The following are the strategic guidelines:
When possible, draw to a straight flush, except with these two hands: A53 with a suited 53, and A42 with a suited 42; with these hands, draw to the A3o or A2o, respectively.
If you don't have a straight flush, draw:
- AKx, AQx: Unless you can draw to AJs, ATs, or A9s, always draw to the two highest cards.
- AJx-A4x: AJx-A4x: AJx-A4x: AJx-A4x: AJx-A4x: AJx A straight draw to an A3o or A2o is the second priority. The drawing of the two highest cards is the third priority.
- Always draw to the KQ with KQx.
- Draw to any suited Kx or Qx with KJx - QTx. Otherwise, draw the top two cards.
- Always draw to the two suited cards when playing Q9x-532.