Seven Card Stud Strategy

In seven-card stud, it costs nothing or very little to see your first three cards. It’s important to be able to evaluate the value of those hands to decide whether you want to play them.

For instance, let’s say you get three cards of the same suit. The correct play here would be to begin to bet, and hope that within the next four cards you receive, at least two will be in the hearts suit. But if you look around the table, and see three or more hearts already revealed, it’s best to fold.

Chances are, you’re not going to make that flush. You have to understand how the number of players affects the cards you are holding. For instance if you have a high pair you are better off playing against just a couple of players.

High pairs usually fare better when only a few players are competing, and you’ll have the best chance of winning. But if you have a hand you’ll want plenty of players in the game. When you have a high hand, you’ve got yours and the others have theirs to get. When you have a drawing hand, or one that requires improvement, you will rarely make the hand, so that when you do, you want other players around to build up the pot you will win.

On the other hand, small or middle pairs are the most dangerous. These hands can cost you money because you’re tempted to stay in, in the hope of getting a matching card or being able to “steal” the
pot, winning it with a mediocre hand after everyone else drops out. But while you’re waiting to improve or get lucky, your opponent can easily match a higher pair that will make your pair look puny in comparison. The opposite is true, as well. When you have high cards in your hand, and it appears that the most any opponent can have is a middle or low pair, you are in a good position to improve your hand. With a hand like you’re in a good position to improve your hand by catching either another Ace or Queen.

Given the importance of the decisions made on third and fifth streets, once you’ve decided to pursue a pot, it’s frequently a good idea to see it through. Many hands aren’t made until the last card. But you must be aware of the possible combinations of your opponents’ hands. If you’re chasing that high pair, and an opponent is raising with a hand like you’ve got to assume that he’s either made a straight, or wants you to think he’s made a straight. A high pair won’t be of much help in the first case, and it might cost you a good deal of money to prove the second case.