Mixed Game Poker Strategy: Don't Slowplay Rolled Up Sets in Stud-8

Posted at 14:56 2010-05-04

A common mistake that many new Stud 8 or better players make is playing certain hands exactly the way that they would in regular Stud. A story I like to share happened in a Stud 8 event in Atlantic City, NJ at the Trump Taj Mahal. A player at the table I was at made a serious mistake that wound up costing him a good portion of his stack in the middle levels.

The bets were 200 - 400 with a 25 ante. I had the bring-in with a {2c} up and an {Ad}{Ks} down. A player in the five seat called with an {8x} up as well as a player in the seven seat with a {4x} up. The player in the one seat called with a {5x} up. I then caught an {Ax} for a pair of aces on fourth. Seat five caught a {2x}, seat seven an {8x}, and seat one a {Kx}. I bet out and hoped to thin the field a bit. I received three calls. Seat one was a strange call to me, but then again, maybe he had a split or buried pair and was hoping to improve.

Fifth street brought me a {3x}, seat five a {7x}, seat seven a {9x}, and seat one a {Jx}. I wanted to see where I was at in the hand and bet out. Seat five called and seat seven folded. Seat one also called, and now I am wondering if this player maybe has buried aces or some other pair. I am pretty certain at this point that the five seat has a made low, but it is a weak low. I am now showing three wheel cards, so the low is a little leery to bet out.

On sixth street, seat one caught an {ax}, I caught a {4x} and seat five then catches a {Jx}. Seat one is now in the betting lead and he bets out. I stopped for a moment and looked at both players hands and briefly contemplated a raise. However, if my opponent really had just caught a pair of aces, he had me outkicked with his king-jack against my king-four. I just called and so did seat five.

The river card was dealt and seat one checked blind. I looked down to a {5x}, completing my wheel. I bet out. Seat five made the call, and now seat one raised. I cannot be scooped in this spot based on the cards I have seen, so I three bet. Seat five finally takes the hint that he cannot win either half and after about 30 seconds, he folds his hand. Seat one starts shaking his head and makes what turns out to be a crying call. I turn over a wheel and he turns over trip fives before throwing his cards in the muck. This left him with about 800 chips.

After the hand, my opponent spoke up to say. "You were very lucky to catch that five. Man, I start rolled up and lose." I just shrugged my shoulders but sat there silent. I didn't bother to tap the glass, even though he had made a really big error, and then continued to compound that error in the hand. Let's take a quick look at what he did wrong.

Seat one started rolled up. Two opponents called the bring-in. In this spot, he should have put in a raise. Failing to fast play a rolled up set in Stud 8 is a huge mistake. In the case of this hand, a raise would have immediately knocked me out of the hand. I started with A-K-2. That is a heads-up hand at best. Also, it is very hard to put him on a rolled up set here due to the fact he is raising with a five. He might have buried aces, three wheel cards, three suited cards, or even a pair of fives with an ace.

After he failed to raise on third, he should have definitely raised on fourth to see where everyone was at. The fact that he had three fives made the odds very long that any of us would make a low straight. The same argument could be made on fifth. However, he continued to slow play, and ultimately slow played himself out of most of his stack.

Slow playing a rolled up set is a smart play in regular stud, but not such a great idea in Stud 8. Since this hand will wind up as a high-only hand a high percentage of the time, the best idea is to play it fast to narrow the field and give yourself a chance to scoop. When you fail to play the hand fast, especially against multiple players going for low, you are leaving yourself a chance to be outdrawn and lose a huge pot.

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Avoid slowplaying rolled up sets in Stud-8! Avoid slowplaying rolled up sets in Stud-8!

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