Even though Texas hold-em and Omaha have become so popular, you can still find seven card stud games in most Internet and live casinos. By having a good understanding, and developing a good strategy of seven card stud, you can find yourself with a very strong advantage over the other players and a positive EV. While some of the fundamental rules of poker strategy apply to all poker variants, it is important to note some of the primary differences in the play of seven card stud.
In five card draw all players’ cards are dealt face down and only exposed to the rest of the table in a showdown situation. In Texas hold-em and Omaha there are 5 community cards that are dealt face up on the table that are used by every player in the hand. In a seven card stud game there are 3 “hole” cards which are dealt face down and 4 cards that are dealt face up. Cards are not shared as in Texas hold-em and Omaha and some of your cards are exposed, unlike five card draw.
- Start out playing very conservatively until you get a good feeling for the game and the players at the table. This will also help you to develop the table image of a tight player, which can be useful later on when you are ready to open up your game a bit. Having developed a conservative image you will find that opportunities to win a pot by bluffing are presented to you. Don’t feel bad if you get caught try to bluff. Just understand that this will cause your opponents to give you more action on the good hands that you make afterwards, because they will still be remembering the attempted bluff. This is all part of playing a style that is not always the same and this will help to keep your opponents off balance.
- Watch and remember the cards that are, or have been, exposed. Doing so will help you in a number of ways including:
- Keeping track of all the exposed cards, included those from hands that are folded, will enable you to calculate possible outcomes more accurately. You may decide that it makes sense to draw for a flush if you have seen very few cards of that suit exposed in the hand. This can also help you to determine the probabilities of your opponent making his hand.
- Be very selective about starting hands. You may be forced to open because you have the lowest exposed card but that doesn’t mean that you have to call a raise or re-raise. On your first 3 cards, try to have at least a pair or 3 cards to a straight or a flush. At the very least you should have 3 high cards in your hand.
- Do not chase hands. If you start out with a draw to a flush or straight and the 4th card doesn’t help you then it is a good time to give up on the hand unless it has been checked around and you are getting a free card.