March 31, 2006

Stud Eight-or-Better

enough with the dabbling: i decided yesterday that i will be mostly playing stud hi/lo split eight-or-better for the next few months. granted, it probably will not provide the best monetary value (especially considering that the limits are 4-8 while the new no limit game at garden city is generally juicy), but i want to get good at the game. stud hi/lo is a much more intricate and complex game than limit hold'em. the variances in possible hands and the amount of information that you can gather from the board greatly change how much information is in just the cards. it is a game of math and feel and skill. it's a game of realizing a small edge and maximizing profit or realizing a small disadvantage and minimizing loss. for example: last night i looked down at JT-Q on third street. with several people matching the bring-in bet and nobody completing yet, i was getting great odds to "take one off" and try to pick up an open-ended straight draw on fourth street. that was, of course, until i looked again out at the board and saw two K's and 2 9's already out. the chances of me picking up such a draw went from 8 in 42 to 4 in 42 just like that. the hand became an easy fold. if we just do a quick mathematical count, in an eight-handed game of stud, on third street i will see 10 of the 52 cards, meaning that all further odds are in terms of 42 unseen cards. compare this to hold'em where, when we first make a betting decision, we have seen exactly 2 of the 52 cards and you can understand the intricacy involved in the game. i'm excited to spend time improving my game in stud hi/lo. last night in a six-hour session i could recount at least 15 different mistakes i made, whether they be missing a bet, missing a raise, or missing a lay-down. i need to fix these things and become proficient at the game. once i feel confident in stud hi/lo and am able to beat the game at garden city consistently, i will probably move back limit hold'em and try to move up to the 20-40 game. i'm excited about these challenges. wish me luck.

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