May, 2013 - The transition from ring game to tournament play in most poker games is a manageable one. There are certain adaptations that need to be made but for the most part, with a little study and some experience, a good player can make a reasonable transition to tournament play and have some success. Stud Hi Lo however is a different beast, requiring what we would consider more than just a manageable or moderate change in technique and strategy to be successful in the tournament setting. The same is true for regular Seven-card stud. This article will outline the important considerations and changes you need to make when trying entering the realm of 7 Card Stud Hi Lo tournaments. Since I started off playing Stud and then spent a lot of time playing Razz I have naturally been able to do very well in Stud H/L, especially in tournaments. This Stud Hi Lo tournament strategy guide will help you cash in more events than you ever thought possible.
At the beginning of a Seven Card Stud Hi Lo tournament it is wise to use a strategy similar to one you would use in a normal cash game setting. You want to play premium holdings that are adaptable and have a good chance of scooping the pot. In general you also want to play hands that are adaptable from the low side of things, not high hands. The best case scenario by sticking with this strategy is that in the first few rounds of the tournament you will be able to scoop a few pots and have a significant chip lead as the tournament transitions to the middle and later rounds.
If your early round strategy has been successful and you have managed to create a nice sized stack for yourself, then you have bought yourself some more time to play as you are and stick to your solid cash game strategy. Things will start to change however and this is where you will need to adapt or you will find yourself in the lounge having cocktails. If your early round strategy was not successful though, you will need to make these critical changes even earlier and start to play in a different manner.
Many times in the middle or late rounds of a Stud Hi Lo tournament you are going to be in heads up situations. This is for a few reasons but the main reason is because a lot of players are short stacked in relationship to the betting levels. Playing low hands gets very expensive and most likely a player may not have enough chips to see the hand out to the end, or at least doesn’t want to take the risk. That is why in the middle and late rounds of a Hi Lo tournament it is very important to adapt your strategy to one that favors high cards. Obviously if you can win with a low hand that is excellent, but the nature of how the competition for the pot will be in the late rounds dictates that you play high hands more often and simply take the money.
Another consideration late in the tournament is the play with aces. An ace on the board is going to be a very intimidating card no matter what. It represents a strong possibility of a good high hand and if the player can draw out they could make a spectacular low hand as well. With this in mind, many players will try and bluff with an ace and steal the pot early. You can employ this tactic as well, but the better idea is to use your aces in the late round to bluff, throw off your opponents and make strategic moves. Don’t solely rely on them to take down pots early, but use them as a tool to extract money and trap opponents.
In closing, it is crucial that you make the key middle and late round adaptations in a Seven Card Stud Hi Lo tournament. If you are a rigid player that opposes change and you think that your winning cash game strategy will win you the tournament, then you need to seriously evaluate if you really want to mess with a Hi Lo tournament. If you can successfully make the change however, you will find yourself in an excellent position to do well in Hi Lo tournaments.
Stud 8 freeroll tournament strategy is going to be a bit different from the tourney strategies listed above. Freeroll tournaments are typically much wilder than real money MTT's. You are going to want to play very tight for the first 30-60 minutes. Let the fish re-raise on every bet and conserve your chips for when you catch a strong Stud HL hand.
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