While 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Regular was once a very popular tournament game, even to the point of being part of the rotation in the World Series of Poker, it has largely been replaced by 7 Card Stud 8 or Better. While many of the strategies used in the latter game are also appropriate for the “regular” variant, there are definite differences in how to successfully negotiate the pitfalls of a 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Regular tourney. This article will give you a solid approach to this game, should you find yourself either playing in or organizing a tournament.
First, it is important to remember the major difference between tournament play and cash games, that is once your chips are gone, you can’t just reach into your pocket for more money and continue to play, unless it’s a re-buy tournament. When this happens, you are eliminated, and therefore it is imperative to avoid that situation, both by conserving your chips, while at the same time attempting to increase your stack, as the antes and limits increase.
One of the major differences between playing a 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Regular tourney and an 8-or-better game is that the lack of qualification for a low hand makes it almost impossible to play a high-only hand. While in an 8 or Better tournament, especially in the later stages when the limits are high, you are often best served by playing something like a pair of kings, hoping that it will improve and that no one chasing a low will hit one, in 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Regular, there is always a low hand that will take half the pot, and therefore a hand such as K-K-Q is unplayable, especially heads-up, where there is too big a likelihood that the person showing low will also run down a flush, straight or little two pair that gives them the scoop.
It is essential to remember that the object of any split pot game is to play hands that have the potential to take both sides of the pot, and, particularly in a game with no qualifier, your focus MUST be on playing low cards, particularly hands with aces, three low flush or straight cards, low three-of-a-kinds, low pairs also containing an ace, etc. Especially in the early stages of a tournament, there is no pressure to play marginal hands, because the antes are a miniscule percentage of your stack. By developing a tight table image early on, you will be amazed at your ability later in the tournament to steal the antes and the bring-in by representing a strong hand, because your opponents will be used to you only playing quality starting cards.
As the tournament proceeds, your main job is to keep ahead of the increasing ante and limit levels. A good rule of thumb is to always try and have at least 100 antes in your stack, which gives you the leeway to pick and choose hands. Once you get short-stacked, a large percentage of your chips will have to go into the pot every time you play, and one or two instances of bad luck will knock you out. Therefore, when you have strong hands, you need to make sure you are charging your opponents to try and chase you down.
In 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Regular, there is almost never a reason to slow play a hand, unless it is to simply call bets with the absolute nuts in order to keep more players in the hand.
As the money bubble approaches, you should increase your aggression whenever you appear to have an edge. Most players will tighten up, trying to make sure that they don’t finish out of the money, so you can use the appearance of a strong board to push your opponents off of their hands, especially if you seem to have the best low.
You can choose between cash games and tourneys as your preferred style for building your poker bankroll helps your success and skills grow.
The Main Index for Poker Variant Seven Card Stud High/Low Regular.