While the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament at the World Series of Poker has increased the visibility of mixed games, there are plenty of poker fans who only know about poker because of televised coverage, which has focused almost exclusively on No Limit Texas Hold'em.
As part of our coverage of the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament at the WSOP, we're examining each game played in H.O.R.S.E., starting with Limit Hold'em on the first day of the five-day tournament and ending with Seven Stud Eight or Better on the tournament's final day.
We talked to five players, each with a WSOP bracelet in a different poker variation included in H.O.R.S.E., and they shared some wisdom on how to play the game and how it fits into the overall structure of a H.O.R.S.E. tournament.
Day Five: Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Eight or Better
Cyndy Violette has been a professional poker player for most of her life. She has made her living playing stud games in both Atlantic City and Las Vegas, but has also become an accomplished Hold'em player, making WSOP final tables in Limit, Pot Limit and No Limit Hold'em in 2005.
More importantly, she won a WSOP bracelet in Seven Card Stud Eight or Better in 2004, and agreed to answer a few questions about the game for the final installment in our five-part series.
CCT: Other than the basic rules and structure of the game, what is the first lesson a player should learn about Stud Eight or Better?
Cyndy Violette: Generally focus on making low hands.
CCT: What is the most common mistake that players, even experienced players, make in Stud Eight or Better?
Cyndy Violette: Playing too many high hands and not being able to get away from them at the right time.
CCT: Do you need to catch cards to play well in Stud Eight or Better? Or can you chase people out of pots with well-timed bluffs?
Cyndy Violette: You need to catch cards and play them well. Trying to bluff in this game won't get you very far.
CCT: Are people generally better or worse at playing Stud Eight or Better than they are at the other games in H.O.R.S.E.? Why do you think that's the case?
Cyndy Violette: Most people don't play Stud Eight or Better as well as the other games. Players that don't play the game often have a difficult time grasping the concept, and this game takes a lot of patience and discipline!
CCT: How important is Stud Eight or Better in the overall structure of a H.O.R.S.E. tournament? Can you be a good H.O.R.S.E. player and be really bad at Stud Eight or Better?
Cyndy Violette: It's very important to be able to play it well. Getting scooped or scooping a pot can be a huge difference, because these pots can get huge.