Seven-card stud eight-or-better is a fast game with numerous bets and raises. While skill is extremely important, luck can be a great equalizer on any given day.
If you like to splash a lot of chips around, eight-or-better should be for you. In this book, I will be talking about a game that is usually fairly tight, as most eight-or-better stud games are played at the medium and high stakes.
At the lower stakes, the games tend to be much looser.
However, since this is seven-card stud eight-or-better, there are not many playable hands, and it is hard to find a game that is too loose –unless it is an extremely low-limit one, which we will not be addressing.
Remember,this text is for advanced players. A lot of the value in eight-or-better, though it happens infrequently, is making a concealed high hand that appears to be low and thus enables you to punish some other high hands.
One of the requisite skills for accomplishing this is the ability to read the cards correctly so you can identify the high hands.
If it looks as though you have made the lock low, but you actually hold an ace-high flush, which is the lock high, then you are in one of the best situations this game offers.
In seven-card stud eight-or-better, the pot keeps building in a way that is slightly similar to a pot-limit texas holdem game.
In the later rounds, many raises often go in – that is, the betting action sometimes increases dramatically toward the end of the hand, especially in multiway pots.
In most other games, someone will bet and one or more persons usually will just call.
But in stud eight-or-better, particularly when the pots are multiway – which is often the case – someone may have a lock for one side.
This means that there are frequently two or more bets on some of the later streets, so in general, the implied odds are greater early in the hand.
This increases the value of the right kind of hand, such as a small three straight , which does better multiway.
When it looks as though you have the best hand, you almost always should bet or raise.
Seven-card stud eight-or-better is not a game where you should attempt to poker trick your opponents by slow playing or trying for a check-raise.
Many of your adversaries will be scared of the best possible hand, and they will check along with you.
Consequently, you need to bet your hands, or you will be a caller who doesn’t win very much on his good hands but pays off when he is beat.
Exactly how you play your hand often determines whether you win or lose in the long run. Starting better than the other players helps enormously, as it does in any game, but most of your opponents also will “start good.”
The weaker players will play too many second-and third-best hands- both high and low – but the better players will be in there with legitimate hands all the time.
So you won’t be outplaying most of your opponents by having better starting hands, but you might get an edge by making sure that your hands are more live than theirs.
Much of your advantage will come from correctly folding on fourth street and Fifth Streets in spots where your opponents won’t, and from jamming the pot at the right time when many other players don’t.
You also will make easy gaming money by squeezing players out of pots and sometimes by stealing half of a pot that you were not supposed to get.
Finally, some players whom I have played against over the years in the higher stakes games, and whom you eventually may have the opportunity to play against, are ken Flaton – one of the finest seven-card stud eight-or-better players; “Lefty” – a fine non-professional whose alertness at the table you would like to emulate; Dan Harrington – a great all-around player whom you could encounter in any game; David Sklansky – poker’s top theorist; Frank Thompson – a real champ at this game; Jo-Jo – an energetic East Coast Player; Tom Hufnagle – whom you will find at both this game and the Omaha split tables; Steve “Z” – who loves all high-stakes games; Erik Seidel – a great New York tournament player, Norm Berliner – a top player; and Shirley from California – one of the regular women players.
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