There are two complementary skills that go hand-in-hand for any successful poker player. The first is learning how to make “good” plays, such as continuation bets or bets in position, which will win pots without opposition. The second, and more important concept to grasp, is learning how to avoid making “bad” plays, those that will take money OUT of your pocket. The vast majority of money that is lost at the poker table is done so by players making the same basic errors over and over again, regardless of what game they are playing. We are going to teach you what the most common mistakes are in 7 Card Stud High/Low Regular, so that you can stop making them, thereby allowing you to keep more of the money you win with good play.
The most basic error that players make in 7 Card Stud High/Low Regular is playing too many hands, particularly one-way high hands. An important rule of thumb in 7 Card Stud High/Low Regular is to avoid playing hands that have “paint” cards in them. While queens in the hole might be a terrific starting hand in 7 Card Stud High, it is not a hand to play in a game where SOMEONE is going to win the low half of the pot, with no qualification.
Consider this example: You have your hidden pair of queens, with a 7 in the door. Two other players also stay in with sevens showing. While you are likely a favorite for high right now, there is almost no way that you will scoop this pot, since if you manage to construct a decent low hand, it means that your queens never improved, making you very vulnerable on the high side, and if you only have a high hand, it is very possible that you can be beaten both ways by one of your opponents making a straight or small two pair with a better low. So, in essence, you are playing for a chance at half the pot, which goes against the most important concept in high/low split poker, playing ONLY hands that have a chance of scooping the pot. Throw that pair of queens away and you will save yourself a LOT of money.
The next thing that players do is failing to recognize how quickly a good hand can turn bad. Let’s say that you have a hand like 7-4-3 rainbow, which is a very solid, although not spectacular starting hand. One other player stays in with a 5 showing, and he catches a 3 on fourth street, while you get a J. What do you do? All too many players keep calling bets in this situation, and this is a mistake. Their logic is that they are probably ahead for high, so what’s the problem? The problem is that their opponent may have something like 4-2 in the hole, meaning that, although the jack is ahead for high right now, it is a big underdog to stay there, and the low is almost gone already. Once again, the chance of scooping has become very slim, so this hand should be mucked as quickly as possible.
One more common mistake that should be mentioned is failing to take note of what is going on with other players’ revealed cards. Often times, 7 Card Stud High/Low Regular players will be so fixated on their own cards, that they will be oblivious to what is going on around them. They will neglect to see that someone’s board has become extremely dangerous (three low flush cards, or an open pair), or even that most of the cards that they need to make their own hands are already dead to them.
The beauty of any stud game is just how much information is available to you through the face-up cards. If you fail to take advantage of this, or even worse, don’t bother to even consider anything beyond your own hand, you will be a consistently losing player at 7 Card Stud High/Low Regular. However, if you can avoid ALL of the basic errors that have just been discussed, you will find yourself continually walking away from the table a winner.