A good stud player has many tools that he can use to his advantage at the poker table. He can observe and remember the folded cards. He can characterize the playing style of his opponent. He can keep track of his recent image at the poker table. I've covered these items before. There's another tool that is available to on line players that is not readily available to live players. It is the feature of "notes" available on many of the internet poker sites.
In my prior article I addressed starting requirements of stud and how they differed from hold 'em. Let me address the later streets in this the second part of this two part series.
If you are selective on Third Street, you will generally continue to bet your Premium Pairs, even if they don't improve, unless you see opponents who seem to have surpassed your hand. On the other hand, if you are going for a straight or a flush with a drawing hand, you generally want to call or check, sticking around cheaply until you make your hand.
You're a Hold Em player. You've gotten pretty good at it. So you've decided to learn another game a well. You figure that you'd like to take advantage of the many loose stud games with lots of bad players. So what do you need to know about stud so you can beat these games? Even if you don't become an expert, can you learn to play well enough to extract some profit from the really good stud games that are out there?
I recently took a marathon trip to Atlantic City, leaving my home in Boston at 1:30 AM, driving through the night, arriving early on Saturday morning, and then playing in all the poker rooms I could find. This included a stop at the Trump Taj Mahal (known familiarly as "The Taj") - once the premier poker room in the area. For stud players like me it still is.
We learned in the last two articles how to evaluate what it costs to play poker in a public card room. Here are some other considerations for determining how consumer- friendly a poker room is.
Some places cut the rake or reduce the time charge if the game is short handed. This is more significant when there is a rake. Smaller hands mean smaller pots which means that it is more likely that the maximum percentage will be charged. Remember, the larger the pot, the more likely it is that the maximum rake will be met before the pot is won - meaning a relatively smaller rake.
Being a smart shopper applies to your poker room. It's up to you, the consumer to shop around and learn what you need to know to determine whether you're getting your money's worth. First, learn how the house gets its money. Some places have a rake - an amount that the house takes out of every pot. Other places charge time - an amount taken every half hour from each player. Find out, before you sit down, exactly which method is used and how they use it.
I received more notes and follow up questions from my piece in Poker Player Magazine on "Getting Kicked Out" than from any article I've ever written for any publication. It convinced me to write an article on the many factors I use as a poker consumer to evaluate a poker room. We poker players spend a lot of money for the services offered by a poker room. We deserve to understand how much we're paying and what we're getting for our poker dollar.
I was visiting the world's greatest stud room - Foxwoods Resort Casino's new 117 table poker room in Ledyard Connecticut. They had 31 stud games going on an early Sunday afternoon when I was there last. I had two conversations with fellow players that were instructive. Let me share them with you. The first happened while I was playing $20/40. The final event of the Foxwoods Poker Classic was about to start and the room was filled with many out-of-towners who were either trying to take advantage of all the action or who were the action.
I'm a good $20/40 stud player. I make about one bet an hour - more on a good night. Tonight was one of those nights.
It's hard to believe that it happened to me. But it did. I figure, at the very least, it will be an interesting and cautionary tale for the rest of you. I was visiting Las Vegas on what has become bi-annual poker playing jaunt. My mission was to research the state of 7-Card Stud in the city - something I reported on in two earlier Stud Sense articles. It was also a good excuse to tour many of the more popular poker rooms.