What's in Your Seven Card Stud HUD?

Date: 2009-12-21
Author: Sean Gibson

Before the Hold’em boom gripped the world, the most popular poker game played was Seven Card Stud.  It was a staple of almost every home game.  However, the love for Stud would not last, as the game of choice is now No Limit Texas Hold’em, with the second most commonly played game being Pot Limit Omaha.

“The Stud/8 games appear good at every level and most levels contain bad players.  Stud High seems to have a curve where the lowest levels are dead easy and it starts to get much more aggressive as the levels increase,” says noted Stud player Rusty Brooks, better known as “RustyBrooks” from the TwoPlusTwo forums.

Brooks is a throwback poker player who enjoys playing Stud games in a casino and on the internet.  He’s a very talented software developer by trade and even programmed his own freeware Stud hand history tracking program that comes with a Heads-Up Display (HUD).  Brooks has been playing poker since 2002 and plays in games when he finds it spread at a casino.  He’s played in $5/$10 and $10/$20 games online and feels that the pros are mostly found at $15/$30 and above.

“I don’t know too many people who make a living playing only Stud games.  I do know quite a few who play Stud in a lot of Mixed games,” he mentioned.  Currently, hand history programs like PokerTracker 3 and Holdem Manager do not support the import of Stud or Stud/8 hands.  Consequently, since the program doesn’t import hands from those games, there’s no HUD available.  The player pool, for the most part, hasn’t changed in numbers the last three years according to the Stud players we polled.  What has changed is the number of people participating in Mixed tournaments and cash games.

“I’ve played a few FTOPS events in most of the previous years.  The fields are extremely soft because they’re dominated by people who only have a casual interest in the game.  The satellites, in particular, are amazingly soft,” Brooks explained.

Brooks decided that he wasn’t going to wait around and hope that one of the modern hand history tracking programs would finally support his game of choice.  Using his extensive talents in the world of software programming, he created his own Stud tracking program that features an HUD.  He used PokerTracker as a backend and wrote the necessary elements, including a hand searcher, hand converter, and an HUD.

“The newer version will let you pick your own stats and how you want to display.  It’s much easier to manage because I really wanted to be able to support Draw games.  It’s faster than PokerTracker at most things, but it also has fewer ‘features’ because it includes a lot of things I am not interested in,” said Brooks.

The types of statistics that are important for a Stud HUD are highly dependent on situational factors, according to the Stud players we asked.  Most of those polled said that important stats are VPIP, PFR, AF, and others such as WTSD, W$SD, and street-dependent aggression.

Brooks said that he would be willing to lend his talents to the PokerTracker 3 or Holdem Manager teams if they ever came knocking for Stud support.  He said he even e-mailed PokerTracker with some ideas, but never got a reply.

“The biggest chance we have to get Stud played at all is in Mixed games and I think PokerStars’s Eight-Game and Full Tilt’s Eight-Game tables are really great in this respect.  This lets people who otherwise never play Stud be more confident about joining a Mixed game,” concluded Brooks.

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