Heads-up poker is often more a question of which of the two players can exert his/her will upon the other. As a result, it often comes down to which opponent can be more aggressive at the right time.
While there is some truth to this statement as regards heads-up 7 Card Stud High/Low Regular as well, the presence of so many face-up cards, combined with the splitting of the pot between the high and low hands regardless of the quality of the hands, means that there is much less room for naked bullying and many more times where the cards displayed are going to determine the outcome.
As is true in a full ring game, it is much easier to turn a low hand into a high hand in Seven Card Stud High/Low Regular than vice versa.
When you combine that fact with the idea that the first action in each round of betting can change from card to card, it is usually best to be more aggressive with low cards than with high ones. For example, if you are dealt Q-Q-K, and are up against a door card of a 5, caution is indicated. While you are likely to be ahead for high, you are also probably almost dead for low, and, in fact, if you make the best low by the end, it would mean that your high hand would probably no longer be good.
For example, what if your opponent has 8-7-5 against your queens? Your only chance of scooping the pot would be to hit something like kings-up for a high with a king-high low, while your opponent made three small pair, thereby completely killing his low. While this can happen, the odds of it occurring are very low, especially when compared to the chances of your queens never improving, and the other player making either a low straight or a low two pair to go with an 8-high low – scooping you.
While you certainly wouldn’t throw away a rolled-up hand (three-of-a-kind on the deal), especially if it is a low three-of-a-kind, you are much better off if you are dealt low cards against your opponent’s high ones.
As the hand progresses, you need to keep track of the likelihood of scooping the pot, and especially avoid situations where you are likely to be scooped. Be wary of an opponent’s low-looking board that also contains either an open pair or an ace. Know where you are at all times in regards to the low, for the reasons stated above.
Remember that SOMEBODY is going to take the low half of the pot. If you are pretty sure it is not you, bail out on the hand as early as possible.
Let’s examine why: If, on the fourth card, you are almost certain that you are going to lose for low, you have usually only put two small bets, plus the ante, into the pot. In order to see the rest of the hand you will need to put in at least two, and usually three, big bets on top of this.
Assume that you will pull out the low 10% of the time, which is probably a high estimate. Of the times that you do that, also assume that you scoop half of those times. Therefore, 5% of the time, you scoop, and win the equivalent of four bog bets. Another 5% of the time, you split the pot and get your money back. What about the 90% of the time that you lose the low? Of those hands, you need to win the high half almost 100% of the time in order to eke out a tiny overall profit from the 5% of the hands you scooped. Therefore, it is almost always the right decision to fold when you are hopelessly behind for low, unless you are ALMOST 100% CERTAIN that you will win the high.
In short, play aggressively with low hands that have high chances, and cautiously or not at all with high cards. By saving your chips for better scooping opportunities, you will be able to come out on top much more frequently, and be a winning heads-up 7 Card Stud High/Low Regular player.
The Main Index for Poker Variant Seven Card Stud High/Low Regular.