Seven Card Stud Strategy and Tips
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Seven Card Stud Strategy and Tips
Poker writer Bill Burton provides 7 card stud tips and
By Bill Burton
Seven Card Stud is a poker game that many people have played but few people
play properly. It is impossible to cover a complete strategy in a few short
pages. What I hope to do here is to make you aware of the types of situations
you should be thinking about during the game with a few simple suggestions to
start you on the right course.
As with any other poker game, the most important decision you will make is deciding
to play after you see your starting cards. In seven card stud your starting
three cards make up 42% of your final hand. The first thing you need to do after
looking at your three cards is to look around the table at the up card of all
the other players. Texas Hold’em and Omaha use community cards so it is fairly
easy to judge the relative strength of your starting hand. This is not the case
with seven card stud because each player receives seven unique cards.
Another player may be dealt a card that you need to make your hand a winner.
If a card that you will need to improve your hand is showing, or the other players
are showing superior cards then you might as well fold and save your self money.
The same three starting cards can be powerful in one hand and be completely
unplayable in another hand. If you hold three suited cards but look around the
board and see five cards of the same suit in your opponent’s hands then your
chances of making a flush are greatly diminished. This is also true for a possible
straight or even if you hold three big cards but see some of the same cards
as your opponent’s up cards. So look at your starting three cards and then look
around the table before making the decision to play. There are certain guidelines
of sound starting hands that you should use as a base in choosing your starting
The best starting hand you can have is three aces. Actually any time you have
three of a kind you have a powerful hand. When you have a pair in the hole and
it is matched by your door card (up card) this is known as being “rolled-up.”
The odds of this happening are 424 to 1 so you won’t see it too often.
Besides three of a kind here are the other types of starting hands I
would consider playing:
- Three cards to a straight flush.
-A big hidden pair.
-A big open pair. This is one card down matched by one up.
- Three high cards to a flush.
- Three cards in sequence
- Hidden middle or low pair with no matching card showing by others.
- Three cards to a straight of flush.
Your goal is to start with the strongest starting hand or one that has the potential
of being the best hand at the showdown. These guidelines may seem a little tight
but a winning player is very selective about the hands they play. Again these
are only guidelines that will be used as a starting point. If you see cards
you need scattered around the table you won’t even be able to continue with
many of them.
If you have a big pair in your starting three cards you will want to play very
aggressively by raising if there is a bet in front t of you. Your goal is to
narrow the field to increase the chance that your big pair will hold up as the
best hand. You want to make it very expensive for those players to continue
with a drawing hand. Big pairs are best against a small field of players.
Continuing With Your Hand:
When you are dealt your second up card you are hoping to improve your hand by
catching a card you need or by your opponent not improving their hand to beat
the strong hand that you hold. As a general rule of thumb you want your hand
to improve with every new card you are dealt. If you have a big pair and there
is betting and raise, you have to consider that your opponent may have made
three of a kind or two pair.
In a limit game many players will automatically call a bet because it is still
the lower limits. This is not playing winning poker. Unless your hand improves
or you still have a good drawing hand you should bet out now. Again you will
need to look at the cards that your opponents have and determine if they hold
a card you need.
Stud takes a lot of concentration but with a little practice you can be a winning
player. Following these tips on choosing a stating hand should improve your
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