7 Card Stud Strategy for Texas Hold-em Players

After your 100,000th hand of Texas Hold-em, you might be thinking to yourself that this game is just no longer fun. The monotony of a game that involves only 2 cards in your hand starts to bore you after a while and you start to peruse the other games offered at your favorite poker site. You come across Seven Card Stud and think “Why don’t I give this a try, it can’t be that different from Hold-em.” But after losing your hard-earned Hold-em money, you start to realize that this game is in fact a totally different can of worms.

I hope this article will be helpful to Texas Hold-em players who are looking to approach the Seven Card Stud games.

This is NOT Texas Hold-em

Perhaps more to the point, this is not a communal card game. Many Texas Hold-em-oriented players get burned in 7 Card Stud by re-raising with weak straights or even (and this may be news to many of you) weak ace high flushes. This stems from not paying attention to the other player’s cards. The major weakness that Hold-em oriented players bring to a 7 Stud game is their inability to appreciate what their opponents are holding. In the face of a raise, they look at their hand and count their outs while not aware that their opponent may be drawing to a higher straight or flush and are shocked after a capped river to find that their 9 high straight was just decimated by a king-high straight. As you play more 7 Stud you come to realize that the name of the game is playing your opponent’s board, not yours.

Beware the Door Card

The door card in 7 Stud is the card that is shown face up in the initial 3-card hand that is dealt to each player. Remember the door card of each player. Keep in mind what everybody’s door card is at the beginning of the game, even if they folded. It is important to remember what cards are dead when you’re drawing for pairs, flushes, or straights. Unlike Hold-em, Stud gives you the advantage of having a more accurate count of your outs. If you have a spade flush draw but 5 spades are already showing in other people’s hands it may be a good idea to fold it. 5 spades, plus the 3 in your hand leave only 5 left in the deck. In Hold-em these flush odds become magnified because of your ignorance as to what is being held. Also, beware when a player pairs his door card. When the door card becomes paired and the player has previously called a raise on the third street, this person is often holding two pairs or trips, tread wisely.

Position Changes From Street to Street

In Texas Hold-em, action is derived from the button, which moves in a predictable manner. In Stud the “button position” can move from street to street or remain in the same place. When the cards are first dealt the person with the lowest door card is forced to bring in. The bring-in can be thought of as the stud equivalent of the big blind, it basically sweetens the pot and entices more action (i.e. steal attempts). This person is forced to act first and all people act in a counter-clockwise manner after him. However, when the fourth card is dealt, the bring-in is often not the person who is going to act first as the person with the best showing hand (ace high, showing pair) is obligated to bet, check or fold first. As you play more 7 Card Stud you will able to use this to your advantage just as you do (hopefully) in Hold-em

Count Cards

Stud is a game of memory. Counting cards is perhaps the one thing Hold-em oriented stud players fail to do. Suppose you held a 5-5-A (Ace is the door card) but there is another Ace and a 5 showing elsewhere in other people’s hands. This hand is essentially unplayable in the face of a raise and a good case can be made for folding right off the bat. You have 1 out left for trips and you have 2 outs left for a good two pair in the best-case scenario (You may be drawing to a completely dead!). Do yourself a favor and throw away dead small pairs.

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