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Bad players are the lifeblood for every poker game in existence. If everyone knew how to play each game competently, then the game would boil down solely who was getting lucky.

Stud 8 or Better is a game where bad players are much more noticeable over those in other games. Part of this is due to the many players not truly understanding the nature of the game and part is due to players coming in trying to apply strategy from other poker games to Stud 8.

Naturally, those that are experienced at the game love when bad players take a seat as it means good times and positive +EV for their bankroll. When these bad players sit down, we immediately start evaluating their play and below are five bad plays that Stud 8 players love to see from their opponents.

Chase After Half the Pot Heads-Up

You really like that low draw don’t you? You stared with 2s-6c/7d and were the bring-in. One person called and you bricked on fourth. On fifth, you picked up a 3s and your opponent showing 10s-8s-Kd bet.

You know what you’re opponent hopes to see from you right now? They hope you will continue chasing after that low draw for half the pot. The best you can hope for is to get your bets back and half of the antes. When you miss your draw, you’re going to grow our stack.

So go ahead and keep throwing bets into the pot in hopes of getting your money back. We like free money.

Don’t Apply Pressure With Your Scary Board

Another player we love to play against is one who fails to put on any pressure with their scary boards. The only time they bet is when they have a made hand. If they have four low cards on fourth street, they fail to bet to thin out the field. If they pick up three low cards by fifth or sixth or three flush cards, they don’t represent a made hand.

We love these types of players because we always know where you are in the hand. In addition, you give us every opportunity to outdraw you. Your board has power, but you don’t know how to use that power. That’s ok, we don’t mind free cards.

Battle With Your High Door Card Against Multiple Lows

Some of you have the mindset that you’re going to play Stud 8 or Better like Stud Hi because “the low doesn’t always get there.” Thanks! Come play in our game anytime.

The telltale sign of one of these players are those that regularly play with high pairs or three big cards, even when it is clear that multiple players are going after low hands.

When you play high only hands against multiple low opponents, you are asking to have your hand scooped. Yes, there’s a chance a low will not get there and your high hand will scoop but the times that happens won’t make up for the times you get scooped.

Play the Game Like it Texas Hold’em

I was once in a Stud 8 tournament at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA and there were two young players at the table where it was clear that this was their first Stud 8 tourney.

After a spirited hand between these two, one player showed down a lowly pair of aces and the other showed a missed flush draw. The two started chatting and the winner said, “I figured my aces were good. You play so bad.” An older gentleman sitting next to him said “you weren’t worried about him having a low or a better hand?”

The kid then said something that all the experienced players love to hear, “I was playing that hand like Texas Hold’em. Besides, aces are good in any game.” The older gentleman locked eyes at me and we both smirked. From that point on, every time one of us played past third with them, we virtually dominated them.

Over the course of two levels, we sliced up their stacks between us and they were the first two eliminated from our table. You’re welcome to play Stud 8 like Texas Hold’em if you want, but you’re just going to give your stack to experienced players or even semi-tight beginners that play solid starting hands.

Don’t Bet for Maximum Value When Freerolling

Earlier I mentioned that Stud 8 players love when you don’t bet your scary board. Another thing we love to see is when you fail to bet for maximum value with your made hand, especially when it is clear that you’re freerolling.

If you have a made low or high hand and it is clear you’ve got at least half the pot locked up, you need to be pumping the pot as much as humanly possible. When you fail to do so, you’re saving your opponents bets and also giving them a chance to catch up for half the pot.

When you bet when freerolling, you do two things. First, you make your half of the pot bigger. Next, you give yourself a chance to win without showdown. Depending on your opponent’s holdings, your aggressive betting could force them to fold.

In a Binions Stud 8 event a few years back, I remember a hand where an opponent caught a pair of sevens on fifth street at the same time I caught a six low on fifth. I bet on fifth, sixth and on the river. My opponent thought a second on the river and said “if you can see an open pair and can keep betting, I guess you have me beat.” He then surrendered his hand and gave me half the pot when all I had was that made six-low and maybe king high for high.

When you’re freerolling and not betting, you’re costing yourself money. Of course, we don’t mind if you do this. You’re saving us money and telegraphing your plays. Makes our day much more enjoyable.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.