Smart Moves in Seven Card Stud
Seven card stud is a classic poker game, and one in which you can gain a real advantage over your opponents. Texas hold’em remains the most popular poker game, so often times those sitting at a stud table will not be as experienced as you are, provided you have studied the game. To get started, here are some smart moves you can make to get an edge in seven card stud.
Play Three Strong Starting Cards
Players coming from hold’em will instinctively want to play if they have two good cards. While you should definitely be playing hands like (As 6d) Ac, in general, you need all three of your cards to be working in order for you to have a playable hand. (Tc Js) 3h is not an attractive starting hand in seven card stud.
Make Good Decisions on Fifth Street
If you call a bet on fifth street, it will often be mathematically correct for you to play all the way to the end because of the pot odds. Therefore, fifth street is a critical decision time. If you make good decisions and calculations on fifth street, you can save a tremendous amount of money in the long run.
In hold’em, there are a lot of pre-flop pots that are not worth stealing, as they have only a bet and a half in them from the two blinds. In seven card stud, each pot is bursting with antes and a bring-in, and you can fairly well gauge where your opponents stand in the hand after three cards. Take advantage of all the early stealing opportunities you can in seven card stud. You will be surprised at what a difference it can make in your win rate.
Bluffing In Seven Card Stud
Seven card stud is a game commonly played as a fixed-limit game, where the amount you can bet on each street is pre-established. However, the game can also be played as a pot-limit game (common in online casinos), which opens up some opportunities for additional strategies, particularly bluffing.
Texas Hold’em Poker and Pot-Limit Seven Card Stud
Unlike Texas hold’em, which has four betting streets, seven card stud has five betting streets. This means that a pot-limit hand of seven card stud can easily become effectively no-limit by the river unless the stacks are very deep. Therefore, if you are a no-limit Texas hold’em player, you can bring the aggressiveness that may make you successful in that game and use it to great effect in a pot-limit seven card stud game.
How Pot-Limit Seven Card Stud Differs from Traditional Seven Card Stud
Seven card stud often comes down to a made hand vs. a drawing hand. In the traditional fixed limit version of the game, the pot size relative to the fixed bets often make it correct to draw to a winning hand all the way to the river. When playing pot-limit seven card stud, the player with the made hand can and should often make it unprofitable to draw by making pot sized bets.
Bluffing Dynamics in Seven Card Stud
The interesting thing about seven card stud is that it is very difficult to tell when a player has a made hand. As soon as the player has three of a suit showing, he may already have a flush. If a fourth one comes, it becomes very likely. Since there are three down cards, a player can actually have four of a kind while showing absolutely nothing on board. You can see why these conditions are rife for bluffing.
If you have four of a suit showing and no one else shows a pair, you have a great opportunity for a bluff with a pot-sized bet. It takes great fortitude for someone to call off a large amount of chips gambling that one of your three hidden cards does not make your hand. If they have a pair showing, they may have two pair or trips with their hole cards and be willing to take a shot at a full house, so you should be more reluctant to bluff against pairs. This holds true only if their cards are live. If an opponent with a pair has his cards matched by a few other players at the table, his odds of having or catching a full house is much less likely and he can be more easily moved off his hand.
Notes on Seven Card Stud
These moves listed above will not automatically make you a superior seven card stud player. They can, however, as stated, give you a considerable edge against unskilled opponents. If you really want to make money at stud though, you should study books written by masters of the game, memorize their advice, and try to put that advice into play as frequently as possible. You should also study the poker articles here on the site. It will teach you many aspects of a winning poker strategy.