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How is it different from Texas Hold'em?

Introduction

In this article
  • One's relative position can change within a hand
  • Free card plays are usually pointless
  • Open limping is not a crime
While you could benefit from having played Texas Hold’em when switching to Omaha, the same isn't true in Seven Card Stud. Seven Card Stud, with the hi/lo split variation, is a completely different game which you have to learn from scratch.

This could also be an advantage, because there are many passionate hold’em players who don’t make profit; the reason is because they are stuck in the hold’em style of thinking, concerning hand strength and board textures.

This article shows you some fundamental differences between Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo and Texas Hold’em.

Position

Compared to Hold’em, positions aren’t determined by the dealer button - the uncovered cards determine the one who acts first. However, once this person has made his move, the direction of play is the same as in Texas Hold’em. It is important as well to place yourself in a good position relative to the types of players at the table.

It is advisable to have aggressive players to your right; you will therefore know since 3rd street whether they want to enter the pot or not, enabling you to act accordingly. If they are to your left and one of them is holding an ace as an uncovered card, you have to narrow your starting hands quite significantly because they will re-raise you with a very large range.

Having loose-passive players to your right is also beneficial, as it enables you to isolate them. However, in contrast to Hold’em, you can only complete the SB after someone limped and you can't raise to two small bets, so you aren't able create as much fold equity as in Hold’em.

On the later street, another advantage becomes obvious: you can make use of their raises or check raises in order to force other players out of the pot.

This play loses a lot of value if you have passive players to your right who only bet strong holdings, because they might only check on that street as well and so you risk being isolated with a stronger hand.

Position in heads-up on later streets

If you are heads-up in Stud8 from the 4th street onwards, nobody has a positional advantage as they would in Hold’em - the Lo-hand usually has position when a Lo- and a Hi-hand are playing against each other. This causes the Lo-hand to be able to decide whether it wants to take free cards or bet if its board has developed well, because most players with a Hi-hand wouldn’t bet against a board with three Lo-cards on the 5th street.

The position might change several times if two Lo-hands are playing against each other - usually the better hand is going to be in position. Note that raising with the intention to take a free card on the next street is dangerous because you’ll be out of position when you need the free card most of the time (you got caught badly, your got opponent caught well).

If there are two Hi-hands playing against each other, the stronger one is usually going to be out of position, trying to lead in order to make the possibly weaker hand pay for it’s draws. You can take advantage of this with a hidden Hi-hand, for example a higher hidden pair than the opponent’s face card, in order to slowplay on the 4th street and to raise on 5th street.

Initiative

Having the initiative in Hold’em is very important as it allows you to take down pots where neither party has a good hand, by being aggressive on several streets (continuation bets). The board is much more important than initiative in Stud8: if you complete on the 3rd street with a low face card and your opponent calls with a Lo-card as well, there is no point in betting if you get a bad card, such as a queen or if your opponent gets another low card. Also, your opponent will be able to see that you probably have a weaker hand than he does. Making blind continuation bets is one of the most frequent mistakes Hold’em players make when they are switching to Stud games.

Furthermore, the use of initiative in order to get free cards is also not a good idea. Even if your opponent is holding a Hi-hand while you are holding a Lo-hand, causing you to be in position, he is going to donk the next street anyway if you hit a card which obviously didn’t help you. This means that you won’t be able to take free cards when you actually need them.

Complete vs. Limp

If you play texas hold'em in today’s aggressive Hold’em games, limping is not a good move. However, this is not the case in Stud8: due to the antes, everyone gets very good odds for limping, especially with Lo-hands, which have a high playability in multiway pots but aren’t monsters; yet it might be a good idea to simply limp from early or middle position in order not to get isolated by a Hi-hand isolation raise.

You should raise strong hands for value, however, with medium strength hands you should always take the time to consider whether you want the other opponents in or out of the hand. From late position, you shouldn’t open limp anymore because you have an opportunity for winning the antes right away - a complete is therefore much more attractive. You can find more information about this topic in the article about playing on the 3rd street: Click here to go to the article

Conclusion

Stud8 is simply different from Hold’em. To play aggressively, as in Texas Hold’em, isn't the best option in most cases. A different style of playing is required in Stud8 because position, as well as the betting sequence, are determined differently; secondly, because the relative position of the players can change within a hand and thirdly, because the players can see most of their opponents’ cards (the face cards).

You won’t be able to use much of your Texas Hold’em knowledge and you shouldn’t. The problems you will be facing with excessive continuation bets and free card plays have been discussed in this article.

You will be able to carry over certain fundamental knowledge about things such as outs, odds, pot odds, psychology, bankroll management and even one or two moves. You won’t be starting from scratch, however; you have to be aware of the fundamental differences between these two variations.

 

Comments (3)

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#3 spuzhva, 03 Sep 09 20:21

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