5 Tips to Get Better at Stud Poker - PokerJunkie
It is imperative that you improve your overall Stud game in order to succeed.
Below are five tips that will help you improve your overall Stud game. We've split the tips up over all variants in order to improve your learning curve.
1. Mastering Card Memory Will Improve Results (All Variants)
One of the key skills to becoming an expert Stud poker player, regardless of variant, is card memory.
Stud poker offers a wealth of information on the strength of player hands in the form of upcards. Half of your hand will be exposed by sixth street, allowing astute players to put you on a proper range.
In Stud it's imperative to keep track of folded cards to allow yourself the best chance of putting someone on a range of hands. This is doubly important for Stud 8 or Better as it is a split-pot game.
Improving your card memory will help you improve your ability to put players on hands. It will help you make more money when you know they're drawing thin and save money when you're sure they're drawing live or have already gotten there.
2. Beware the Paired Door Card (Seven Card Stud and Stud 8)
Newer players to the game often miss a key concept of Stud poker that many old-school players have burned into their souls.
If a door card is paired in Stud or Stud Hi-Lo, odds are that person just hit trips.
Most often a player that enters a hand in Stud or Stud 8 will be entering with a pair matching their door card.
When this happens you need to consider slowing down when he pairs that door card unless you can beat trips.
This rule can also apply to Stud 8, especially for those that enter a hand with a high door card.
It isn't always applicable to low cards but if a player pairs his low card and starts playing aggressively or calling many bets, chances are that card hit him.
You will want to abandon your hand if your opponent hits his door card in many cases. If you continue, do so with the realization that you may be against trips or better.
3. Do Not Slow Play Rolled Up Trips (Stud 8 or Better)
Regular Stud poker players just read this header and cringed. In regular Stud it is correct to slow play rolled-up trips to extract maximum value.
In Stud 8 or Better the same hand does not play nearly as well. In most cases rolled up trips will be a one-way hand and slightly vulnerable.
As such you want to make your opponents pay to draw out against your sets.
Older players will look at this and claim that you're telegraphing your play. In the past this was the case but many newer Stud players will not give you the proper credit for fast playing your rolled-up trips.
4. Learn to Bluff Your Boards (Razz)
High cards are your worst enemy in Razz. The same applies to your opponent.
Because of that you will want to learn how to bluff with strong boards.
For example, your opponent brings it in with a nine. You have an eight showing with K-Q in the hole in position.
Normally this isn't a playable hand but your bad cards are hidden. Completing here may steal you the pot. If not you can still improve to bluff your way out the pot.
Assume the nine calls and then catches a queen. You catch a six. A bet will take the pot in this spot unless you're against a bad player.
There are going to be times where you will be in with bad hole cards but a solid upcard or board.
Learn to bluff at these boards to represent strength and you will take down more Razz pots.
5. Use a Point System in Drawing Hands (Stud)
Stud expert Roy Cooke devised an excellent method for deciding whether to chase straight and flush draws in regular Stud poker.
While a bit antiquated, it's still a solid strategy for entry-level and intermediate Stud players.
When drawing to straights you want to start with hands that are open ended. Examples are 3-4-5, 6-7-8, 10-J-Q.
If dealt an open-ended hand, check around the board for outs on either end of your hand. In the case of 6-7-8, this would be fives and nines.
Next, check for outs two cards from either end. In our example, this would be fours and tens.
For each five and nine from this example, assign one point. For each four and ten, assign a half point.
If your total is more than 2 1/2 points, don't chase the straight draw. Too many outs are out to have the proper odds to draw.
The same thing can be applied to flush draws, but the system is simpler. If you start with three of the same suit check the other upcards on third street.
Each card of the same suit is one point. If there are three cards or more showing of your suit, abandon the draw.
This simple point strategy will save you the headache of trying to get lucky while drawing thin, in turn saving you money.