Beginner’s Guide to 7 Card Stud

published on 11/18/08 at 10:38 am

Before Texas Hold ‘em took off in the 1990s, 7 card stud was the most popular poker game in the United States. Today the game is still popular on the East Coast of the United States, and is featured in many online poker rooms and most poker tournaments.

While some players choose 7 card stud because they grew up with game, or appreciate its roots in American poker history, others select 7 card stud because there are more opportunities to play against weaker players, and therefore increase revenue from the game.

7 Card Stud Basics
7 card stud poker requires players to make the best possible 5 card poker hand from the 7 cards dealt to them in the course of the game. A round of betting follows each deal, with the first 2 cards dealt face down, the next 4 dealt face up and the final card dealt face down.

Players can use the “upcards”, or cards visible to other players, to bluff opponents, while the down cards are ideally used to create undetectable winning hands. The game structure introduces a great deal of complexity to play, with players required to pay attention to and memorize cards held by other players at the table.

The following 7 card poker strategy tips provide a basic guideline to making the most of this challenging poker format.

7 Card Stud Strategy
Trips: Trips are to 7 card stud what big pocket pairs are to hold ‘em. Being dealt trips first up gives a player very good odds of winning the ensuing hand, keeping in mind that the player should watch out for straight or flush draws amongst opponents. Many experienced 7 card stud players will attempt to slow play trips to extract maximum value out of the pot.

High Pairs: High pairs are the most desirable starting hand after trips. These not only give a player an opportunity to beat lower pairs, but also have the potential to hit sets later in the hand. The trick to high pairs is to eliminate drawing hands like straights and flushes with aggressive betting early in the hand. High pairs hidden by the down cards should be slow played to increase the size of the pot.

Flush Draws: Players dealt 3 suited cards in a game of 7 card stud will tend to attempt to draw cards for their flush without alerting other players to the fact that they are doing so. It is best to attempt completing a flush when the opening hand features high cards as these will provide additional opportunities to win the pot with high pairs. Players should abandon any attempts to make a flush if they are still two cards short of the flush after the 5th card has been dealt.

Straight Draws: Similar principles are used to play straight draws, with straight draws best pursued when the drawing hand features one or two high cards that will provide an additional opportunity to make a high pair later in the hand. Players should fold straight draws if they are not holding a four card open-ended straight draw after the 4th card has been dealt.

Always keep in mind

  1. The greatest danger in 7 card stud is underestimating an opponent’s hand. Unless you’re holding the nuts you’ll need to work out what the strongest hand your opponent could be holding is and attempt to beat that rather than the cards that are showing on the table.
  2. The first 4 cards are crucial to 7 card stud. If you’re ahead after 4 cards you’ll win more often than not, while if you still haven’t made your hand after the 4th card has been dealt you should consider bailing out of the hand and wait until you’re in a stronger position before putting any more of your money in the pot.
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2 Responses to “Beginner’s Guide to 7 Card Stud”

  1. Bassw

    Nov 18th, 2008

    Good basic introduction! It’s always a good idea to learn different poker variants and use the gained knowledge in your favorite type to play.

    I am personally a big fan of PLO Hi/Lo, big swings tho! :)

    Bassws last blog post..BassW: @street3 I got in 2,2,3r and 8th and made 1/4 buy in. Not sure it its for me

  2. admin

    Nov 18th, 2008

    Thanks for the comment, BassW!

    I love razz. One of my favorites, but a tough game to find.

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