Here are a few tips to help improve your seven card stud hi-lo game.
If You Are Drawing to Half the Pot, the Hand Needs to Be Strong
Many people will get into a stud 8 hand with ANY three card low. It doesn't matter if it is 3-4-5 or 8-5-2, they are in there. There are also players that take the stand, "There isn't always a low, Ill come in with my pair of nines and maybe win the high."
The object of the game is to scoop. If you cannot scoop, you want as strong a one way hand as possible. A hand such as 2-3-7 is only a one way hand, but if you make a seven, with this starting hand, many times it will be good. Rolled up nines are super strong, but will only win high in many cases.
One additional point for one way hands drawing to high only. You really want to try and push the low hands out of the pot if you can.
If an Unusual Hand is Raising or Calling Multiple Bets - Be Careful
An unusual hand in stud 8 would be someone limping in with a 2 and then catching two paint cards and making a fifth street raise. Another unusual hand would be a 9 three-betting on third street. When something like this happens, you need to be careful if you are not drawing to a scoop or a strong low. Odds are this person now has trips. In the case of a 9 three-betting on third, it is possible they could do this with buried aces, but if they are, it is a poor play.
In Tournament Play - Do Not Draw to a One Way Hand Heads-Up from Third
One of the worst mistakes that many players make is drawing heads-up to a one way hand in stud 8. If you are drawing to a one way hand, you want multiple players in the pot to keep the odds favorable. Also, by drawing, I mean a true draw. A big pair does not constitute a draw heads-up. It is likely leading. However, drawing with your 8-5-2 is not wise. At best you are getting your money back with some antes. You are risking a lot of money in doing this.
Rolled Up Trips Should Be Played Fast Always
Repeat after me, "I will raise when I am rolled up." Also, you will bet out on fourth street unless you have some reason to suspect you are behind, such as an ace three betting your raise and then pairing his door card ace. Otherwise, you will bet until you think you may be behind.
In all honesty, whenever you are rolled up, you want to fill up or catch quads. A rolled up set is almost never safe and that is the main reason you want to play it fast.
Stud 8 or better is a great game to pick up money or bets in against weaker competition. Learn to avoid the common pitfalls many players make and you will be well on your way to improving your game.