Monday, September 20, 2004

More Than Just Hold 'Em

As other bloggers have been finding out of late, there are more poker games out there than just Texas Hold 'em. I decided to throw my hat into the ring for a little 7-card stud hi/lo action this weekend and see what would happen.

However, it would be silly to enter a new battle without the proper ammunition.

How many of us either own or have read Doyle Brunson's Super System? I'm guessing most of us have. Well, have you looked at the other sections that aren't Hold 'em related? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Super System does have a section on 7-card stud split featuring strategy tips from David Slansky. I believe Slansky needs no introduction.

In a nutshell, he recommends not playing any hands that aren't capable of scooping (i.e. winning both halves) of the pot. He notes that there are not many high hands that can also win the low hand by virtue of acquiring more cards, but that is not the case with low hands.

A great low hand can develop into a high hand by filling up a straight or flush. It is these hands where profits are made. Slansky points out that if 3 players are in a hand that will eventually be split, your dollar is only earning a potential 50% rate of return. However, if you go on to scoop the entire pot, it's earning a 200% rate of return - that's 4 times as large for us math wizards out there.

Because these type of hands would be somewhat uncommon, I logged into a full table rather than a short-handed one so that the antes wouldn't eat into my buy-in too quickly.

By following the above general strategy, I made 66 BB in a couple of hours. This result was greatly helped by one hand in particular where I had 2,3,4,5,6 for a made low and high. I took down a $72 pot with 2 other players calling and re-raising my raises the whole way. I got the wheel (A,2,3,4,5) two other times for decent sized pots too. You will be amazed at the chasers at these tables. There were a couple of people who just never seemed to fold.

Don't worry though, there will be suckouts going on at this game too. You'll get your A,2,4,5 suited in the first 4 cards, then get hit with K,J,Q bricks and have to fold. Slansky says there's not much you can do there. He also claims that by following his strategy, you'll have a 7 or 8:1 chance of coming away with a winning session. That's purty damn nice odds if you ask me.

So I may just try this for a bit, and let my Hold 'em cells regenerate.

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