In Stud High you have to pay attention to having a decent starting hand, calculating pot odds thoroughly, reading your opponents and finding the right spot for stealing the bring in and the antes. The following example was an easy hand I watched in a $1/$2 Stud High SNG yesterday.
The hand was $9Bronicas Gotta Play bring in $1 from the button, the cutoff (bring in) pushed all in for $4. The button raised to $16, which made sense for a tight table, I let him. Next the small blind pushed all in for $28, which was the second time he hit the button this hand. I pushed all in for $120, trying to represent a strong hand.
The flop was 8 hearts, my cards were 9, 7, 6. The small blind bet $10, the big blind called.
The turn was a Td. I was pretty happy with my hand, if I bet this pot will be pretty low most of the time. The big blind bet $15.
Then came the river with 2 diamonds. I was pretty happy with my hand, if I check to induce a check raise I can usually get a free card if I’m lucky enough to hit Poker88. Check raising with just two diamonds is a winning strategy. Sometimes you get called and that’s just a part of poker. I called the $15 and got the next three cards: Qd, Jh and Ten. Bingo! I hit my set. Then I started to get Pool sized bets, then Person Two bets the pot all in. Then the third over cards someone bets the pot all in.
At this point you’re sitting pretty much empty-handed. Your only hope is to hit a streak. But what if they have 9 more outs to your set? You’re thinking “do I slowplay and let them bet, or do I call and double up?” It’s a tough call because you know you have the set but you’re not sure if you have the best hand. You may have the best hand but if someone else has a better hand than you’re hand, you won’t be sure. Also, if someone else is going to call you might as well take your shot, because you’re going to double up anyway.
You bet $50, hoping that someone will bet $100 or more to chase you out. You got no help and they all called.
The bring in for the next pot was $180. It was checked to you, you bet $80 and they all called.
Oh no. You’re out.
You have $100 to bet with and they all call.
You have lost $200 on a hand that you were certain to win.
chances are you’ll still lose $200
Even though you might have been a winner, you lost a lot more than that in very bad luck on a bust decision. Bad luck doesn’t even begin to explain away the numbers in the above example. You can’t possibly have the best hand if there are going to be ten cards in a row that hurt your hand. If you’re not sure about a decision, you should fold. Stick to the game plan. Follow your disciplines. The pros win occasionally but they push the hand aggressively whenever possible. If you want to win, don’t be afraid to fold a hand if it looks too risky. It means you haven’t made the wrong decision, but if you make the wrong decision, you lose as much as you’ve already lost.