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The two additional areas where the play has a main role in winning at

seven-card stud eight-or-better (also including other forms of poker games) are reading hands and psychology.

Reading hands is an art as well as science. It is also identical for correct applications of psychology at the poker table. In both the cases, you should know your rivals. To be specific, the better you understand how your rival think and hence how their poker strategy, the more better you will be able to choose the right approach to crack their strategy.

When you are not in a pot, it is essential to be cautious of what is going on. By doing so, you will understand how different rivals play their hands in different situations and what tricks they normally try. Also, you can get a feel for how they think. You will see what things they handle easily and what things make them perplex and you will get an idea of what approaches work best against them.

Remember that the concepts discussed in this section cannot be mastered immediately. In seven-card stud eight-or-better table, it takes time to read hands and to apply psychology. But once mastered, they will become a crucial factor in your winning play. And for those of you who make it to the very large games (against the world experts), you should become champion in these two areas to bring success to your play.

Reading Hands

Best techniques are available for reading hands in seven-card stud high-low-split poker, eight-or-better. Generally, you should consider the meaning of a rival's check, bet, or raise and you see at the exposed cards and try to analyze from them what his entire hand might be. You can then join the plays he has made throughout the hand with the exposed cards and arrive to a conclusion about his mostly possible hand.

To put in other way, you use logic for reading hands. You should consider your rival's omaha strategy plays in each round and observe that the cards appear on board, carefully scrutinize the order in which they should appear. You can combine these two evidences together the plays and the cards on the board – to arrive at a conclusion about a rival's possible hand.

Sometimes you can force to put a rival on a particular hand too early. But it is a mistake in doing so and then sticking to your original conclusion no matter how thing creates. A player who raises on third street and raises again after chasing only small cards may be a big pair in the hole, but he may be on a draw and is trying for a free card. Drawing early a thin, irrevocable conclusion may prove to be expensive mistakes later, such as giving the free card or betting into your rival when he makes his hand.

One of the essential thing to do is to put a rival on a various hands at the start of the play and as the play develops, try to remove some of those hands based on his later play and also on the cards he chases. During the process of removal, you will get a good idea of what that rival has (or is drawing to have) when the last card is dealt.

For example, on third street you raise with a high card up and a rival showing a small card calls your raise. On fourth street , he chases other small cards near in rank to his upcard and bets after you check. You call and on fifth street , you both chase blanks. When you check to him, he also checks. It is possible that this player has only a three-card low with a small pair. If the rival chases another low card on sixth street that appears to give him a small straight, you should not fold. If he chases a blank on sixth street , you should bet and bet again on the river if you make two pair, suppose he did not fold on sixth street . Furthermore, if he chases good on sixth street , you should check and call on the river, as you have a good shot at the high half of the pot. (If in case he misses again and fails to make a low, you might scoop the entire pot.)

On the other hand, if it turns out that you cannot beat a small pair (may be you started with a high three flush), you may want to bet now, as there is some chance that you can pick up the pot. This is possible if your rival has missed his low and does not call you with one pair.

It becomes very important to know what your rival has at the end of the hand. The more precisely you can read hands, the better you can analyze what your chances are of having your rival beat. This will definitely help you in determining how to play your own hand.

Practically, several players at least try to analyze whether their rival has a bad hand, an average hand, a good hand or a best hand. Suppose your rival bets on the end. Generally, when the player bets, it represents a bluff, a good hand or a best hand but possibly not an average hand. If your rival has an average hand, he would merely check. If you have only an average hand, you should ascertain what your chances are that your rival is bluffing and whether those chances guarantees call with respect to the pot odds. For instance, several players will not bet a rough low on the end if someone is also going low. This is the average kind hand that they expect to win the pot in a showdown.

Noticed that in seven-card stud eight-or-better, one way to read hands is to start considering several possible cards which the rival can have and then to trying to remove some of the possibilities as the hand advances. A best way to read hands is to work backward. For example, if someone with a small card up cold calls a raise and a re-raise by a king and a small card, then chases medium-sized cards higher than an eight on fourth and fifth street but is able to raise on sixth street, you think back on his play in the previous rounds. As it does not appear to be possible that he would have gone so far with something like a small three straight, you should doubt that he is rolled up.

Let's take a simple example. Suppose on sixth street that a player who called a raise on third has

The player with a king in a door and a small pair on board bets; another player who caught an ace on sixth street and who has two other small cards up, both lower than a six, raises; and now this player calls the raise. What would be his hand?

It is improbable that this player has a draw to a six. Positioning the cards in his rival's hands, he may only have a little chance of winning even half the pot, as he is against the player who has him locked out of the high and another player who may have him locked out of both the high and the low. This means that he also has at least gut-shot straight draw, but more possible a flush draw. There is also a better chance that he has two small clubs in the hole.

For example, suppose most people on third street , with small cards up limp in and the pot is raised by a strong player with the 6 ? up. That player on fourth street chases another small diamond but one limper in an early position chases an ace, now bets and gets many callers between him and the third-street raiser. If the third street raiser now raises again, there is a chance that he had a small three straight flush or a small three flush to start with, and that he now has four low cards and a four flush that may also have straight possibility, with three cards more to come. However, if initial fourth-street bettor had chased a small card instead of an ace, it would be possible for the strong player to raise with a hand that is not so strong. A weaker hand may now be much possible.

When you cannot put a person on a hand but have minimized his holdings to a limited number, you can take the help of mathematics to ascertain the chances of his having certain hands rather than others. Then you can determine what type of hand you must have to make the play continue.

Sometimes, you can take help of mathematics calculations based on Bayes' Theorem to ascertain the chances that a rival has one hand or another. After determining on the type of hands the rival would be betting in a given case, you should ascertain the possibility of your rival holding each of those hands. Then make a comparison with the possibilities.

For example, a tight player begin his play with a six up, then chases a blank on fourth street and then again chases an ace on fifth street. Now he bets. You have a hidden pair of kings with two small cards up and are trying to ascertain whether you should call or fold. If two aces has already exposed especially on third street – it would be improbable for your rival to have two aces – you should proceed when he bets, as it is likely possible that you are against four low cards rather than three low cards and a pair of aces. However, if aces are all live and you think this is a possible card for your rival to have in the hole, you should decide to fold, as you could be locked out of the high and your hand does not have two-way possibility.

Knowing it is a bit possible that your rival has one type of holding against another may not always indicates how you should continue the play with your hand. Consequently, the more you know about the chances of a rival having one hand instead of another when he bets or raises, the easier it is for you to decide whether to fold, call, or raise.

For example, on third street you have

You raise and a hostile rival behind you, who has a trey up, re-raises. Both you and your rival pair your door cards on fourth street and he bets. If you believe that your rival is equally as likely to have two other small cards in the hole as another trey, then in such case you must call. If now you chase a trey on fifth street and your rival bets again after chasing an eight, your play is to raise if you know this rival will bet if he had only a pair and four low cards. As you have seen another trey, it is now mathematically possible that you have the best high hand and you are a favorite to scoop the pot.

Consequently, as the above example explains you to adds up your mathematical conclusion with what you know about a poker player. Suppose some players will raise always with a hidden big pair in the hole and a small card up, trying to represent a strong low hand. If this player raises on third street and then chases small cards on fourth and fifth street , he is unlikely to have a quality low hand and the chances that he has a high hand have increased. This would be incorrect if the raise came after most people with low cards already had limped in and if you know this player is unwilling to raise on big pairs in multi-way pots. In such case, the quality low hand is likely possible.

The number of players in the pot helps to determine how to read hands and how to play your own hands. In multi-way pots, people play their hands rather straightforward. This is correct when several players are yet to perform. Therefore, if a player bets in any of the given situation (especially with some low cards showing), you should certainly be sure that he has made a best hand.

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