7 Card Stud Eights or Better
Seven Card Stud Eights or Better is a poker game with many different names for the same game. It is sometimes called “Seven Eight Poker,” “Stud Eight,” “High-Low Split Stud,” or “7 Card Stud Hi/Lo.”
A good place to start practicing Eights or Better strategy is by learning to quickly observe and analyze your opponents’ cards showing on the table, even the ones that get folded. Because the initial action moves fast, you’ll have to be paying attention.
This tactic takes practice, but once you get it down, it will become second nature to you and happen automatically as hands are dealt. Making a mental note of these cards will prevent you from waiting for cards that will never come because they have already been dealt.
Eights or Better newcomers should stay away from the high hand, unless a hand has a pair of Aces or three-of-a-kind. Beware in particularly of starting hands with a big pair. Hands of this nature are dangerous and risky. Once your play improves, you can then include Kings and Queens in your game. You will be better off as a beginner by learning to play good low hands and mastering how to qualify for the low hand.
Once you have practiced making the high and the low hands and are getting good, you’ll need to adopt an attitude towards every hand that you are in it to win it. Go for the entire pot instead of half the pot with just a high hand or low hand. Make it your goal to “scoop the pot.” Remember, winning a split pot does not necessarily mean it will be a significant addition to your chip stack.
Often poker players who are new to 7 Card Stud Eights or Better make the mistake of thinking any three cards are playable—they are not. Hands like 4/6/8 and 5/6/8, for example, are low, but they aren’t necessarily quality hands. What you should play are three-card hands with values of six and less or an Ace accompanied by three cards of 7 and less. Also, two suited cards in any sequence is a good hand to play. Hands with 8s are just too risky and don’t have the potential to qualify. Also, don’t make the mistake of jumping into a hand just because you have a flush or straight draw. This is a mistake in 7 Card Stud and Stud Eight. Before going into the pot with one of these hands, consider how many cards are 8 or less, and then look at your opponents’ showing cards.
Another key thing to always keep in mind and constantly remind yourself of is that 7 Card Stud Eights or Better is not 7 Card Stud. You should not play the same hands that you do in regular 7 Card Stud Poker. Many hands that may be good in 7 Card Stud will only result in a half-pot win with a high hand. Good hands in Stud Eight are those that can win both ways.
Stud 8 takes time to master, but once you learn the game, you will enjoy the complex structure of Eights or Better. Then you can further your understanding of the game by studying more intricate strategies.