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Stud Poker: Important Tips

Quick Notes

Most of the people become frustrated when playing stud eight or better. They will have four low cards and keep chasing worse cards. Or they will have a high hand, the low hands will chase dangerous cards and the situation will get scary. By observing player's reactions, you can read on their hands. You will see which way they are looking and who they are worried about.
You can get the same information of how they play their hands. For example, if one of the low hands improves to a possible second-best low on a later street, you will often see this player making a frustrated call, which gives a hint as to how strong he is.

Stud eight-or-better is not a good game for steamers, as they certainly will go far with their hands and will put too much money in the pot. However, they do not raise much, except on third street. It means if you see someone who is on tilt start jamming on a later street, he has a good hand, as it is just too easy to be locked up.

In eight-or-better, it is very tough to psych people out than it is in a one-winner type of game. That means, your rival thinks he can win always the other half of the pot. Therefore, being very hostile and showing strength do not help much as they would in a one-winner poker game, as players will not get as scared and fold as often.

To put in simple words, instead people being afraid from you (except on first three cards), you would prefer them to tag along, so that you can scoop them on big pots and might get them making some bad plays close to the end. Keep in mind that this play is somewhat opposite than what you want to have in other typical poker games. Also, your image must match with your style of play, or you may be the one who is off-balance. Furthermore, the image you predict may need to be changed as per the situation of the game.

Players may start jamming sometimes close to the end of a hand and it will look reasonably certain that better high and low hands are out against you. In other words, you may find yourself trapped in the middle, even if you have the best hand all through the way. Unless you think you are against a player who not only will bluff but may be possibly doing so, then you should definitely beat.

If the jamming begins on sixth street, then it's the time when it will cost you at least four or five bets on the end, and may be as many as ten bets. At this point, you cannot be arrogant and you have to throw a very strong hand away. Remember, it could be costly for you to see the end of the hand when your hand is possibly second-best.

Specifically, when you have the high poker hand, live cards cannot be overstated. Therefore, the normal situation on fifth street is to be high with a big pair and be up against a four-card low hand with a pair. Your high hand must be live, because you will frequently run into two pair on the end and you must be able to beat this hand.

When high, you have to start with very live cards and you should immediately fold when your cards start falling dead. In multi-way pots, small two-pair hands will come up often and you require a live hand to withstand the heat if the action picks up. (To know more about this topic, see Seven-Card Stud for Advanced Players.)

Unlike other forms of poker, in seven-card stud eight-or-better, persuading bluffs is rather not possible. However, you can get a player to bet a little weaker hand, which you can then check-raise. While playing online poker, the standard poker player would be glad to check down his hand when he does not have much and is glad to get a free card when he is weak.

Reading hands is not only significant in this game but also in all other poker games. For example, in Texas holdem, the flop can change the value of your hand essentially, and in seven-card stud, hands are changed by the scare cards. However, in stud eight-or-better, hands do not change very much. Players who look like going low generally make low hands and the players who look like going high generally make high hands. For instance, if someone begin with a king up, he will possibly show you a high hand if he continues playing right to the end.

It means that reading a player's hand early is important, even though few obvious low hands change or can disguise high hands. But the manner in which the person plays his hand early should give away his base and such information could be useful for the advanced players. Hence, it is crucial to put someone on a hand early, and then to well-define this hand on a later street when the big money goes in.

When you begin with three good low cards and chase bad on fourth street, it is usually correct to fold, unless the pot is not large. Some players automatically will fold in this situation. If you are against these players, you should always raise on third street, despite you think you have the worst hand. If they chase bad on fourth street and fold as anticipated then you have gained equity.

However, some players who begin with three small cards will often call on fourth street, even when they chase bad. Therefore, in order to gain equity you should keep the pot as small as possible. You profit by folding correctly on fourth street when they fail to do so.

Miscellaneous Topics

Afterthought

Since seven-card stud eight-or-better is not considered as complicated as compared to other forms of poker, there is still a lot to this game. Just analyze all the topics that have been discussed in this section. This is true that the book cannot be totally complete on its own, because there are several possibilities which you will find yourself in, and everyone plays differently from everyone else.

Remember seven-card stud eight-or-better is a game of tough decisions. Sometimes, the pot becomes so big which makes it very difficult to throw your hand away. However, you should make some of the folds because either you are beat or the cost seems to be high to finish the hand.

It is also important to conceal your hand whenever possible. This has been emphasize more in the text but requires mentioning again. For winning those large pots which you could not win, you must drive your rivals out. This is true when playing against the better players and true against the weaker players. However, it is very difficult to trick the experts as they comprehend many of the plays.

Consequently, a lot of poker strategies which have been discussed are correct only when the situation and conditions are correct. Do not get caught into the trap by making great plays just to make the plays great. You should try to get more money instead of impressing everyone at the table.

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