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Unorthodox Stud 8 or Better Plays that Can Produce Unexpected Results


Stud 8 or Better is one poker variant where patient play is almost always a winning formula. It is one of the few variants where ABC poker can still win your money over the long-term, but there is still plenty of room for creativity.

There are times where certain unorthodox plays (based on standard Stud 8 strategy) can generate a nice pot provided you play the situations carefully. Below are some unorthodox Stud 8 plays that can generate unexpected wins.

Playing Big Buried Pairs

One of my preferred plays is to play big buried pairs in Stud 8, especially if the door card is a baby. The obvious reason is the deception factor in the hand. My best example was in a Stud 8 event at Binions years ago. I was dealt buried jacks with a four and immediately caught a pair of jacks.

On Sixth Street I was showing three babies and a jack against someone with a pair showing and another low. I started pumping the pot on fifth and everyone thought I had a good low. On the river, I filled up when I caught another four. I ended up betting and I was called down by one player who rivered queens-up and another that caught eights-up.

They were expecting me to show a low and not jacks-full. Had I bet the jack on Fourth Street or the door card was a high card, I would not have won as big of a pot as the jig would have been up.

Playing Big Pairs in Multi-Way Low Pots

If you’re in late position and look down to a big pair, buried or not, and you have more than two players come in ahead of you showing low cards, this is a good time to play a high pair. The reason is that odds are that you’re looking at three players with three card low starters. This is going to spread out the available outs and give your high pair a better shot at winning.

Granted, you are going to need to pay close attention to the remaining action. If it appears that one or more players is drawing to a scoop capable hand and you’re not improving, it is time to get out. Don’t battle with a single pair of kings in multi-way pots past fifth street. You will probably have to catch runner-runner to win and will have to dedicate too many bets to “maybe” chop.

Fast Playing Rolled Up Trips

Old school Stud 8 players are looking at this tips a bit askew and probably thinking “that’s not unorthodox.” No, not if you’re an old-school player, but there are a lot of newer players that think the right play for rolled up trips is to slow play. They take a Stud High mentality into this type of hand and think they can extract maximum value by staying in the hand.

What I have found is that unless you are against a bunch of older player, you’re going to get action betting with a rolled up hand, especially against those with decent low or scoop starters. That the good news.

The bad news is that if your opponents show improvement past fourth street, you have to fill up or hope they don’t catch a scooper to outdraw you. However, you’ll be surprised how often that you can build up a multi-way pot in this situation.

Note, if you’re players are 50+, this move will not work as well because they are going to peg you on being rolled up. I know this from experience as I have had my hand dictated to me by old-school Stud 8 players more than I’d like.

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