7-Card Stud Strategy
Playing 7-Card Draw or Stud requires a different mindset than playing Texas Hold’em or Omaha. This is due to the fact that stud players need to utilize some memorization skills in keeping track of cards that may have been played or folded. There are no community cards as in Hold’em.
Therefore, its vital to pay attention to the cards each individual player has face up or may have folded. If you fail to do this, your bankroll will take a hit because if you are waiting for particular cards to improve your hand that have already been played, you’ll be throwing money away.
For instance, you may be working on a flush draw, but if several players have folded cards of the suit you need, this lessens your chances of drawing successfully. Thus, keeping track of the cards played is crucial.
Starting Hand Selection
7-Card Draw is similar to Hold’em in that successful players must exhibit a great deal of patience and discipline. This begins with starting hand selection. Its an absolute must to play only premium starting hands. As such, you will usually be doing a lot of folding and waiting.
The hands that you do play are dependent on the amount of the ante each player must contribute to the pot prior to the cards being dealt. Most 7-Card games are structured to require an ante. The lower the ante, the tighter your hand selection should be. If the ante is higher, its justifiable to widen your range of acceptable playable hands.
How to Bet
The game begins with two cards dealt down and one dealt face up to each player before betting commences. The best starting hand is three of a kind–two in the hole that match your face up card. With a hand like this, it is advisable to not bet heavily right off the bat in order to keep from scaring away your opponents.
Ideally, you would like some players to remain in the hand and draw more cards to build up the pot. But if it appears as though another player is getting a strong hand–either drawing or otherwise–you can bet with the aim of forcing a fold or to make them pay for continuing drawing.
Other Starting Hands
Other starting hands that you are looking for in 7-Card Draw include a pair of Jacks or better split, meaning that at least one of the Jacks is hidden. A wired pair of nines or better, meaning that both nines are concealed. Three preferably high cards of the same suit. Low flushes lose too often in 7-Card Stud, so make sure you have suited cards on the higher end of the spectrum.
Three face cards creating straight possibilities. This is sometimes questionable depending on the playing styles of your opponents, as well as the size of the antes. Its not that great a starting hand, but can be playable under the right conditions.
If the antes are higher in your 7-Card Draw game, then you may increase your starting hand selection to include any Ace plus another face card or even two high face cards. Split nines or better and wired sevens or better is acceptable. Also, flush draws can lower the card rankings toward the mid-level in high ante games.
The best playing style for 7-Card Stud is considered to be tight-aggressive, meaning that you will wait until you receive the aforementioned starting hands. Once you do, you will play those hands aggressively, betting heavily normally throughout most of the hand. The exception would be having been dealt a set right off the bat, which will allow you to slow-play a bit, as the strength of your hand is concealed to the fullest.
Take notice that the suggested starting hands are pairs or high drawing hands. The reason being that drawing hands can become quite costly in 7-Card Draw and often are more trouble than they are profitable. If you want to play a drawing hand and find that two or more cards that you need to make your hand have already been played, folding is usually your best option. You should be drawing only under the best conditions or circumstances.
Looking at your opponents’ cards and deciphering what they may be holding is a necessary skill in 7-Card Stud. You should be highly cognizant of betting patterns and the cards that have already been folded by other players to help you make logical determinations. Players with a face up Ace will be high unless there is a pair showing and often will bet whether they have paired up the Ace or not.
We have touched on some of the most needed skills required to be a successful 7-Card Stud player. Remember that memorization, patience and discipline are key to becoming profitable. A tight and aggressive playing style usually fares best. Reading your opponents properly is also an element to the game that should not be overlooked. With enough practice, you will be able to hone and utilize these skills in order to be a winning 7-Card Draw player.
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