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Some 7-stud/8 Tips

If you decide to play past Third Street, your next key decision point occurs on the very next betting round. If you're going for low but catch a high card on Fourth Street, you've hit a pothole. But if you catch a fourth low card, you stand a good chance of succeeding at your draw.

If you have a low draw and catch well on Fourth Street while an opponent - who also has a low draw - stumbles by catching a high card. you can raise if someone bets. That will make it tough for the other low draw to call, since he's now dragging the heavy anchor of a high card attached to three babies. If you' re able to raise and drive out all other low draws, it no longer matters how good your low is, because now if you make any low at all, you'll be rewarded with at least half the pot.

If you find yourself on Third Street up against opponents who have deuces, treys, fours, fives, or sixes showing, you can assume they're drawing for low. But an opponent with a doorcard ace could be going high or low, or even have a two-way hand like A-2/A. Whenever you make a two-way hand that already has a lock on half the pot, you should jam the pot by raising or re-raising at every opportunity. You'll scoop the pot if you get lucky, but whenever there are multiple opponents, each additional bet generates profit, even when the pot is split.

If you're dealt a big pair early, your hand already has some intrinsic value; but if you start with three low cards, all you have is a drawing hand. As good as it looks, there's always a chance it won't get there. But if you make the only low hand by Fifth or Sixth Street, along with a chance to improve to a high hand as well, you have half the pot already won against opponents who hold high-only hands. You can now bet or raise with complete safety.

If you make a straight or any other good high hand to complement your low, you may scoop the pot. But even if your high hand is still just a wannabe, as long as you hold the best possible low hand, there's no cost or risk in drawing for the high hand. Put simply, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Poker players call this "free rolling." Although it doesn't happen often, it's a wonderful feeling when it does!

If you have a high hand, you should bet and raise early and often: You need to make it as expensive as possible for anyone drawing to a low hand. After all, you want to avoid splitting the pot, and you'd also like to avoid the indignity of an opponent's low draw backing into a better high hand than yours, thus scooping the entire pot right out from under your nose. (This happens more often than you might think, so beware.)

If it's your opponent - not you - who makes a low hand, you have a problem. Once you suspect you're up against a made low, it's time to stop driving and apply the brakes. At best, you're now the player aiming at half the pot. At worst, you'll get scooped if your high doesn't hold up. Since that's the case, what earthly reason could you have for betting into this pot?

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