Seven-Card Stud Legend Artie Cobb Discusses Stud 8-or-Better Strategy

Artie Cobb

Four-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Artie Cobb may not be a recognizable name in today’s new-age game of young guns, but he is definitely known amongst the earlier generations of poker professionals.

Cobb is truly a living legend of seven-card stud, having cashed in 34 WSOP events, 24 of which were in stud events. His first WSOP cash dates to 1976 when he finished runner-up to Doc Greene in Event #5: the $1,500 Limit Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo event. Seven years later, Cobb won his first WSOP bracelet in the 1983 $1,000 Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo event collecting $52,000 for the first place title. His bracelet win was quite the achievement as he defeating a field of 104 players, including a final table that featured Johnny Moss and David Singer.

In 1987, Cobb did it again, winning the $4,500 Limit Seven-Card Stud event for $142,000. He then added another bracelet win in 1991 in the $1,500 Limit Seven-Card Stud event, and then again in 1998 in the $2,5000 Limit Seven-Card Stud tournament for over $300,00.

Cobb was back on the felt Wednesday attempting to snatch a fifth bracelet in Event #13: $5,000 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low 8-or-Better event of the 2013 WSOP. If successful, it will be Cobb’s first WSOP bracelet wins in 15 years. He was one of 130 players who advanced to Day 2 on Thursday.

Being graced with the presence of such a high-caliber Stud player, we took the opportunity to speak with him a little bit on the skill of the game and got in depth about some of the more advanced strategies of Stud.

PokerNews: First off, you’re one of the best Stud players that ever lived. Can you name some other great players of Stud?

Cobb: As far as I’m concerned Danny Robison is the best Stud player that ever played. He was just excellent.

What is it about Stud that you love so much?

I think I have a pretty good read on players. I can pinpoint what their hands are, so my hand reading is tip-top. Stud is all about knowing what the other player has rather than only playing your hand. If you know what they have and you don’t have the best hand, then you have to be smart and let go of your hand early.

Do you play in any Stud cash games?

Lately, I’ve been playing at the Bellagio Poker Room in Las Vegas. They spread a $30/$60 game but it only runs a few days a week. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much Stud to play [live] unless you go to California, New Jersey or Connecticut. Most of the people that played Stud have unfortunately grown older and the young people really aren’t playing too much Stud, at least in Las Vegas.

I understand that today’s big game is no limit hold’em. I watched one of the no limit events and maybe 10 percent of the field was 50 years and older. It’s a young man’s game nowadays. Understandably so, younger players have a sharp mind and realize that the game is a lot different today than when it was played many years ago.

What is a good starting hand in Stud 8-or-Better that would give you an opportunity to scoop a pot rather than split?

A hand like {3-}{4-}{5-} or {4-}{5-}{6-}. Anything with a five for the low because you can make a straight. A {10-} doesn’t really matter as much in Stud split so having a five is really more important. If you’re against a hand that has a five then it’s important to understand the other person’s hand and your hand. Also, playing three to a straight is big, {2-}{4-}{5-}, {3-}{5-}{6-} or something similar. The other good hand is to have an ace. If you’re placing aces then it’ll be a nice high hand. It’s hard to scoop if someone makes a low but if no one makes a low and you have aces then you will usually get at least half the pot.

How strong are suited connectors like {4-Spades}{5-Spades} etc.?

If its two-suited low cards like {2-Spades}{4-Spades} then the third card should be matching somehow like {6-Clubs}. Even though you need that five for the straight, you still have a pretty good starting hand. Looking at the other face-up cards is important because you want to see if there are any threes or fives in other people’s hand. If two fives are out, then that hurts your hand because how do you make a high? You might make a low if its multi-way but if it’s just you and one other person heads-up then maybe you can win. But then if he raises with a queen and you have {2-}{4-} {6-}, it’s not a bad starting hand he may have a pair of queens; how do you beat his high? Reading the cards that are already out is very important. Players should always keep that in mind.

If you have a pair of aces with a low kicker, is that a good hand to have in a multi-way pot? Or is it better to play this hand heads-up?

It is good but you have watch the cards that come out because if there are people in against you with low cards then it’s a hand that can win the whole pot but can also lose the whole pot. It’s a better hand to have when playing heads-up because if the guy has a seven showing, then you can suspect he might have a hand with say a {5-}{6-} {7-}. If he does catch a deuce, and now shows a {7-}{2-} then he doesn’t have to make a low hand, if he does then it might not be a low hand that beats your aces. You might make a low with aces. It’s a fun hand but it can also be aggravating when you lose to two pair or if someone does make a straight. Heads-up, it’s a very good hand with aces in the hole. The other play may never put you on a big pair.

Let’s say you have Broadway cards as your hole cards. Is that something you can continue with knowing you can only make a high hand?

No. What a terrible hand. Fold it. Unless it’s suited three cards to a royal flush but even then if you don’t catch it on the next street throw it away.

Is it difficult to steal the antes in Stud 8?

It’s not easy to steal the antes but if you had an ace then it’s good to try. Maybe you get lucky and catch a low when the other player gets the high. If you had {a-}{k-} {6-} and get called with an open four on a raise, you know he has a better hand than you. He might have {4-}{7-} {8-} but on the next card he gets a {9-} and you get a low card like a {3-}, when he calls now with an open {4-}{9-} then you can maybe put him on {7-}{8-} as his hole cards for {4-}{7-}{8-}{9-} for three to straight. Rather if he caught a {10-} then he would probably fold. Getting to fifth and sixth street is where you have to put more focus to be able to read his hand a little better.

Let’s say you have {6-Hearts}{7-Hearts} and your up-cards are {4-Hearts}{5-Hearts} for the open-ended straight flush draw. How do you attack a monster draw like this?

Hopefully you are in a position to raise your opponents but then again you want to have as many players in the pot as possible. You will definitely raise though because it’s such a big hand. Especially when it’s heads-up, it’s huge because no one can recognize that you’re playing suited cards in this game. Then hopefully it works out in your favor.

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