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Mixed Game Poker Strategy: A Situational Call Reaps Big Pot in Stud-8

Posted at 20:59 2010-03-07

I was recently playing a HORSE sit-n-go on Full Tilt Poker and had an interesting situation in a Stud-8 hand. I started the hand with 3-4-6 with only a 7 and a 2 showing around the table for straight outs. Two other sixes were showing and they both called the deuce bring-in. I also just called as I wanted to see how fourth street developed.

On fourth, I caught a nine. The two sixes caught a ten and queen respectively, and the deuce paired. The deuces bet out almost immediately. By this point in the game, I knew this player was a loose-passive player. Next, he was the bring-in. Could he have had split ducks and now made trips? Possible, but not likely. What is more likely is that he has garbage and is betting due to us all catching bad. I decided to call the small bet on fourth to see if I could catch good and maybe get a free card on fifth. The 6-Q called as well.

Fifth street was a five for myself and the 6-Q caught a seven. The ducks caught a jack. Now I am sitting with four to a low and a bit of a tricky board. Let's look at it from the way my opponent might have. Did I start with 6-7-8 and the nine improved me to four to a straight? Why else did he call with a 6-9 on fourth? Did that five make his straight? Does he have some other hand such as buried aces? The other guy called after catching a queen. Does he have a big pair in the hole?

Regardless of what he was thinking, my opponent did exactly what I was hoping for. He checked to me. At this point, I knew I was getting a free card as I put the 6-Q-7 on a low draw like myself. Sure enough, the player checked as well and we saw another card. Bingo! I caught a deuce on sixth. The ducks caught an eight and the third player caught a four. The ducks then bet out. This confused me for a brief second. He checked his ducks on fifth, but now bets? Did the eight give him two pair? I considered a raise, but then I considered the fact that a raise by me here may force the third player out, and I figured I was scooping at this point. I only called and the third player did as hoped and called as well.

The river card was a meaningless queen. The ducks bet out yet again. It was time to raise. The third player either did not make their low or they figured me on a six-low or better. They folded and action was back to the ducks. He paused for a moment and made what equaled a crying call. I showed my six-high straight and he showed eights-up. Sixth street had indeed given him two pair.

Some of you will look at the above hand and say, "So what. You made a questionable call and got lucky." Sometimes you make your own luck in poker based on the situation. The way the hand went down on fourth street, coupled with the knowledge I had on my opponent prompted me to make a call for one small bet. Had fifth street brought a high card, there is a good chance the players with the ducks would have bet me out of the pot. However, I put in a small bet in the hopes to improve enough to scare him into giving up a free card.   Stud based games depend a lot on strong boards. On fifth, my opponent had only a pair of deuces against someone that may or may not have a straight and definitely two players going for the low. Pairing up any of our cards put us in the lead over his hand, so the combination of his hand strength and our board strength made it a call on fourth.

I wish I could tell you that I took down the sit-n-go, but I actually took 2nd. High blinds and an open ended draw on the flop was my downfall. However, the above pot was instrumental in putting me in a position to try and win. The above scenario was a situational play and not one you want to make a habit of doing. Continue to improve your game and you will recognize potential situations where a marginal call can turn into a huge reward.

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A marginal call paid dividends in a Stud-8 hand. A marginal call paid dividends in a Stud-8 hand.

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