Fifth street play in any 7 Card Stud game is the most critical piece of a winning strategy. With the limits doubling, fifth street is where you choose to either get out of a hand or go all the way to the end with it. This is certainly the case in 7 Card Stud High/Low Regular. This article teaches you how to play fifth street effectively, enabling you to be a consistent winning player in this variant.
The most important thing to do in evaluating your hand is to go back to the most important question you can ask yourself at any point in a high/low split game, and that is “Can my hand possibly scoop this pot?” If the answer is “No,” you need to make sure that you are almost an absolute lock in one direction in order to continue with the hand. Before moving on, you should re-read this paragraph until it is absolutely etched in your mind, so that you never make the mistake of continuing to chase a hand in which you only have a chance of taking half the pot.
If your hand cannot possibly scoop, you will need to be able to make off with half the pot at least 75% of the time to justify playing out the rest of the deal. Otherwise, you will simply be throwing good money after bad. Imagine this: Every time you put $10 in the pot, the best you can expect is to get $5 back. It’s as if you were playing in a casino that took a 50% rake! This is a very difficult situation to overcome, so you had better be pretty certain that money will be coming back to you at the end of the hand.
On the other hand, if you have even a decent chance of being able to scoop the pot, it is usually worth continuing to play at this point in the hand. It doesn’t mean you will automatically stay until the end, but the chance of scooping should tip the scales in favor of playing. This can mean that you don’t even have a particularly strong hand in either direction, but a reasonable chance of taking at least half, when combined with some chance of scooping, makes it a much better play than a hand with absolutely no chance of winning both ways.
On fifth street, it is almost always a mistake to try and show strength when you are likely to be behind in both directions, even if your board looks better than your opponent’s. This is because the likelihood is that the other player will call the vast majority of the time, and all you will be doing is putting more at risk in a losing situation. However, if you are only slightly behind, but will be acting first, it is better to bet so as not to show weakness to your opponent.
For players who are used to playing 7 Card Stud or Razz, where one card may not make that much of a difference, it is important to remember that, in a game where the pot is always split, one card can radically shift both directions toward one player or another, particularly when one player hits an ace and the other catches a paint card. Be on the lookout for these types of situations, and don’t be afraid to fold if it is clear you are getting the worst of it. Also, for those who are used to playing Seven Card Stud High/Low Regular, remember that SOMEONE is going to win the low, regardless of how bad their hand is. If that person is definitely not you, proceed very carefully.
PokerWorks Main Poker Variant Index: An Introduction to Poker Variants
The Main Index for Poker Variant Seven Card Stud High/Low.