I've been holding my own in the 20-40 limit holdem game and crushing the no-limit games, but I'm still pretty lost when it comes to Stud eight-or-better. Through pure luck, I'm actually still up at this game after playing for 15 hours or so, but it takes all my concentration just to avoid making bonehead plays. There are a ton of things to think about and keep track of during the hands, and the skills and instincts I've developed for holdem have not translated as easily as I'd hoped. Here's a list of some things that are second nature for experienced stud8 players that I need to train myself to do better:
1. Keep track of several boards (one for each player) rather than just one community board.
2. Remember which cards have been folded. Part of this is identifying early which cards will be important to remember.
3. Calculate approximate odds for 3-card starting hands with 4 cards to come, and for 4-card hands with 3 cards to come. These odds need to be approximated for both the low and the high half.
4. Understand the meaning of other player's bets.
5. Keep track of who has to bet first (it's whoever has the best high hand showing, but this can change with each card) so that I know what my position will likely be in future rounds.
6. Immediately identify which players have caught good cards and are likely to bet, which is necessary to know in order to make effective check-raises.
7. Identify situations where I want to try to push certain players out of the hand. Often this means trying to check-raise in order to force another player going the same way I am to put in two bets at once. Lots of players will automatically call a single bet, but if I can force them to call two at once there's a much better chance they will fold. For example, if the player to my left and I are the only two players going low in a 5-way pot, getting him to fold should often be my primary focus. I need to be able to identify when I'm in this situation and can count on one of the high hands to bet behind him so I can check raise. Too often I miss opportunities like this because I'm still trying to do points 1-6.
8. Recognizing situations where I will be caught in a raising war between other players, forcing me to put in many bets to see the next card. These situations demand that I fold to the first bet, but if I'm too slow to recognize that this is going to happen, I will call a bet before either having to fold or calling $160 worth of bets (only 4 bets allowed on each round, $40 each).
9. Keep track of what my own board looks like to the other players.
There are certainly some other things I haven't thought of and some others that I've never even considered. For the time being, I think I need to prioritize a few of these things to focus on. At this point, it's too overwhelming for me to keep track of all this. Maybe just studying the odds away from the table would be a good first step.