Choosing Starting Hands in Seven-Card Stud Poker High-Low

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Omaha high-low is a game that takes the middle cards out of play, but Aces rule in Seven Card Stud Poker high-low. Because Aces play for both high and low, any hand with an Ace is definitively better than a similar hand without one. With that said, however, you do need to remember that both the high and low hand (if there is one) take half the pot, so you can still play for the high half of the pot if you have a good poker starting hand relative to how other players’ hands develop.

You can always play three of a kind in the pocket, of course, because you have a very, very good shot at capturing the high half of the pot. The set of Eights we tested in the seven-card Stud poker high section won 26 percent of the money in a 100,000-hand Turbo Stud 8 simulation, 0.3 percent of which were from four consecutive low cards fulfilling the ultimate backdoor low draw. You’re also a big favorite to win the money when you start with three consecutive suited cards ranked Five or below. With 5♣ 4♣ 3♣, for example, you would win 38 percent of all money put into the seven-card Stud high-low pot. Three consecutive but unsuited low cards are also a very good hand.

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This hand works in high-low, provided no one else has a competitive high draw.

Other two-way hands you can play aggressively are a pair of Aces with another low card or three low cards (again, those cards ranked Five or lower) that include an Ace. On the high side, you’re looking good when you start with three cards to a high straight flush or what appears to be the best high hand based on your opponents’ cards. For example, if you have the hand in the previous figure, and the highest card on board is a Jack, you should figure to be in good shape to win half the pot.

Be very careful about playing three cards that are ranked Eight or lower, though. These hands are generally not strong enough to play against more than one other opponent going for low.

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