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Mixed Game Poker Strategy: Don't Chase Half in Stud Hi-Lo

Posted at 18:54 2010-09-13

In Stud Hi-Lo a common trap that many players fall into is chasing low unnecessarily. The object of Stud Hi-Lo is to scoop pots. Scooping is not always possible and many times you are playing for half. However, there are times where it is not profitable to chase half of the pot. Let’s take a look at some of those.

Chasing Low Heads-Up

A common mistake made by Stud Hi-Lo players involves chasing heads-up. Let’s assume you are playing a $5/$10 ring game with $1 ante and $2 bring in. You started with 7-A-2 against someone that looks to have started with split kings. On fourth street you catch an eight and your opponent catches a king. He then puts out a bet of $5. Action is now on you. Do you make the call? He probably has trip kings, and you have a draw to an eight. Even if he doesn’t have trip kings, you still have to catch for high. Before his bet, there is $12 in the pot. Assuming he bets to the river, you will likely risk $35 to grow your stack by $6 if you split the pot. This is not a good spot to chase. When you are heads-up, you need to be drawing to an obvious scoop.

Chasing High Against Multiple Lows

Another common blunder made by Stud Hi-Low players is chasing for high when they are against multiple low hands. Now some of you will say, “…but they are drawing for low. Of course I should chase for high.” What you need to keep in mind is that many times a low hand will back into some type of high hand.

Let’s take the same game in the last example and assume you start with split nines. The bring-in brought in with a deuce up, and both a 4 and 5 made the call. Both the four and five have a three-card low showing on fifth and you are still holding only your pair of nines. Do you continue chasing high at this point? Even if you improve your hand to three nines or two pair, will it hold up? You are hoping and gambling that both of your opponents are going to miss their straight and not back into some other hand. At worst-case scenario, you only have two small bets in the pot. You must likely risk another $30 during the rest of the hand to win half, and that isn’t guaranteed at this point. In this case you need to pick a better spot.

You need to remember that in Stud Hi-Lo, you want to be scooping pots. When that fails, you want to split multi-way pots. When splitting, you really need to be battling with a strong hand. Chasing in Stud Hi-Lo leads to players bleeding off chips and leaving frustrated about their play. Don’t be one of those players.

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Don't chase for half of the pot in Stud Hi-Lo Don't chase for half of the pot in Stud Hi-Lo

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