One of the great things about seven card stud is that the disparity between a great player and a bad player in seven card stud can be huge. This means that an excellent seven card stud player can literally clear a table of poor players. To become an excellent seven card stud player however requires lots of experience and a good base of knowledge in terms of seven card stud strategy. This article will focus on the strategies and tactics it takes to become an excellent seven card stud player.
Watch and remember
Memorization is key to being a good seven card stud player. You have to realize that every card that drops on the board fills in a piece of the puzzle that you are ultimately trying to figure out. Not only do you have to keep an eye out on the cards that are currently in play you must be aware of what cards were in play and have since been folded away. There are a few reasons you must be so in tune with the cards that are in play and out of play:
1 These cards help determine what your opponents could possibly be drawing to or could possibly have.
2 Cards in play have a direct influence on the hand you have or the hand you are trying to get. By knowing what cards are dead (already in play) and what cards are live (those you haven’t seen on the board yet) you can determine whether or not the hand you are drawing to has a realistic chance of happening.
Starting hand selection
Another critical strategy in seven card stud is being selective in choosing your starting hands. Ultimately there are not many hands in seven card stud that are worth playing. You need to play premium hands that have a good chance of winning after all seven cards are dealt. With that in mind here is a list of good seven card stud starting hands:
1 Three of a kind
2 Jacks or better split (one of the pair concealed, one of the pair showing)
3 Nines or better wired (meaning both of the pair are concealed)
4 Three high cards to a flush
5 Three high cards to a straight (face cards only, questionable starting hand)
This may seem like a limited list but the problem is that by playing other less powerful hands you are putting yourself in one of the worst possible positions to be in while playing poker and that’s to come in second best. Keep in mind though that the ante will also influence your starting hand selection. If the ante is small in relation to the small bet, then you can sit and play tight all day. There is no need to play anything other than what is listed above. If however you are at a higher limit game where the ante is high, you will need to take advantage of other hands and play more often. It is in these games you will need to use cunning strategy and bluffing to grind out a profit on weaker hands. If you don’t, the antes will eat your bankroll alive.
Watch the door card
A final and simple strategy consideration for seven card stud is to watch your opponent’s door cards. The door card is your opponents first up card. Whenever your opponent pairs their door card you need to watch out. Since the player is in the hand, it is likely that they may have had their door card paired earlier and anytime you see another of that card hit their hand you need to be aware that they could have three of a kind. Unless you have a similarly powerful hand, you will need to proceed very cautiously.