Stud 8/b has been a staple of most mixed game rotations for quite some time. If these mixes include draw games most often the “super sized” version of Stud 8/b is quickly becoming the game of choice. Draw players tend to like action and this game really delivers that. If there are loose players in the game it also very profitable. So if money and more fun sound good to you then let’s get started.
Note: This article assumes at least a working knowledge of regular Stud 8/b. If you do not have that, I can’t think of a better resource than Ray Zee’s High/ Low Split for Advanced Players to quickly get you up to speed.
Rules of the Game
There are several variations of this game but the most common version spread in Las Vegas and Atlantic City plays as follows. Each player is dealt four cards face down and one up card. Unlike regular Stud Hi/ Low the high card brings in the forced bring in bet. A round of betting occurs and players discard two cards before 4th Street is dealt. The high hand is first to act on all subsequent streets. This game produces a lot of action and everyone is dealt five cards so it is not uncommon to run out of cards. As in normal stud games a community card should be used on 7th Street as opposed to a reshuffling of the burn cards.
The timing of the discards tends to vary from game to game. In Las Vegas it was almost always performed after the round of betting on 3rd street. The dealer would collect all of the discards starting with the one seat. Recently in an Atlantic City game several of the regulars stated that the discard should be done concurrently with putting money into the pot.
Discarding after 3rd street should be the preferred way to run the game. Discarding immediately is hard to enforce as the dealer has to play an active role in making sure they receive the discards as the players are making their wagers. The players behind need to be patient and allow the player ahead of them to make their discards before they act on their hands. New dealers and players come and go all night so the training and arguing will go on all night. There is no inherent bias in waiting until the first round of betting has been completed. Sometimes it will benefit you, other times it will not. It is not that dissimilar to a draw game where your draw decisions may vary due to your position and the number of players in the pot.
But regardless of the timing make sure you make your discards. In one late night game I played in recently a tired player proudly rolled over a nine card straight. He had an ace through 9! The pot was forfeited and he immediately racked up and left. Of course the dealer should have also done their job but this was one of the funny things that can happen at 4am that makes poker extra fun.
Differences and Required Adjustments from Regular Stud Hi/ Low Eight or Better
- Roll Up Hands are almost six times more likely
There is a 2.11% chance of being dealt trips within a five card hand. One of the trips has to be your up ard so there is around a 1.3% chance [(.6) * (2.11%) ] of being rolled up on any specific deal in super stud 8. In regular stud you are rolled up only .24% of the time.
- More information is available from the extra downcards
Every player is dealt 5 cards so there are two more cards available to be seen. Your flush draws may be extra live. Or you may have several outs that you need in your own hand. There is a huge difference between having five clubs in your own hand versus only having three. There may also be key cards that your opponents may need and this knowledge may help you later in the hand. For example, being aware that the last five was one of your discards may turn your hand into a lock that should be raised.
- Need to be more selective with low hands.
Three low straight and/or suited cards are really what you are looking for in this game. The value of these hands goes through the roof in this game. You can still play straight draws with gaps. But they must have something extra going for them. The cards could be low, two suited, and/or you the cards you need are live.Two aces with a low card is still a very strong holding. But it is more imperative in this game that this particular hand is played shorthanded. Low hands are stronger so you will end up looking at more straights and flushes.
You may encounter some interesting discard decisions. I would keep a (5c4s)6c over (Ah2d)6c. How live your key cards are should always be a part of your decision.Marginal hands in regular Stud 8b are unplayable in many Super Stud 8b situations. Hands such as (7c5c)2s and (4c5c)5s should be reserved for selected shorthanded pots and ante steals. Multiway these hands are equity underdogs and also need to improve quickly to have a chance to realize your theoretical share of the pot.
- When a low card pairs their door card it is less likely they have two pair or trips.
This is especially true for tighter players involved in multiway posts. They are much more likely to have a better low hand with initial straight or flush possibilities as opposed to a marginal holding such as (6c7c)7s. So if you started with rolled up fives or two aces and a low card you don’t have to worry as much if an opponent pairs his six door card.Of course since it is easier to be dealt trips don’t discount them having quads. Reflect back to 3rd street to see if there any clues that they may have this monster.
- Play high pairs with much more caution
First of all you are much more likely to be up against a rolled up hand. Facing aces in the hole is more common. The low hands out against you will be stronger. That means they will be free-rolling you much more often flush and/or straight draws. Be very careful against a regular putting in action with a nine, ten, or jack door card.For example, say you are forced in with a king. A two completes, a 5 calls, and a good tricky player with a ten calls to your direct right. I would muck a pair of kings. What could the ten possibly have? Even if he doesn’t have trip tens or aces in the hole there are still two low cards to worry about. Maybe a holding such as (Ac 2c) Tc is possible but a pair of kings doesn’t even fare well against that hand. I wouldn’t place too much stock in the fact that the ten did not reraise on 3rd. He might have been trying to suck you in. He also might feel his odds of forcing out a low hand that misses 4th are better if he does not reraise 3rd.But don’t take this concept too far. It is not stud hi/low no qualifier; high pairs are playable in certain situations. You would play a pair of kings in a heads-up pot against a low card that is not an ace.
Super Stud Hi/ Low Eight or Better is a very exciting and action packed game. Skilled players who make the proper adjustments will have plenty opportunities during a session to extract money from weaker players. If regular Stud 8/b is a rollercoaster that can go at very fast speeds, then this game is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. But play your cards right and it usually turns out to be quite a fun ride.