7 Card Stud Strategy

The Basics
Preparing To Play
How To Play
Betting Rules
Hand Rankings
Strategy Guide
Key Points
7 Card Stud - Hi
7 Card Stud Hi - Low

Tips & Tricks

Strategy Elements
Win Percentage
Hand Value
Counting Cards
Using Position
Strategy Notes



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Advanced Poker Tips and Strategy

Using advanced strategy at a full table is an investment of your chips to turn family pots into 3-way and heads-up play with the possibility of not having to show down. The starting hand combinations do not change, however the way that the cards are viewed and played at the table does, as well as the betting and raising strategy is adjusted to earn bigger winnings.

I recommend using advanced strategy for the following types of full, low stakes tables.

  • When the bring-in is rarely raised to a complete bet. (Limpers, shy betters, raisers).

  • When a  table is too 'casual' and there are 'chasers' at the table.

  • When most players at the table are playing very tight combinations.

  • When you can identify the strong players from the weak players.

  • When other players at the table are using advanced betting strategy.

  • When a hand is most likely to be heads-up or 3-way.

Advanced bet strategy consists of:

  • Completing bring-in bets/Re-raising completed bets.

  • Raising any bets made from fourth street when out of first position.

  • Raising/re-raising bets to protect your hand from being overturned by better hands.

  • Raising/re-raising to the cap on fifth street rounds to the river.

  • Raising so much that it puts other players at the table on tilt.

  • No allowance for checking. (or rare checking that involves check-raising another player).

  • Forcing other players that want to stay in the hand to raise or fold, or you will be the one to do it.

As you can see, advanced bet strategy involves a great deal of raising. And only because the player has an experience of exceptional hands, counting card numbers, suits, and outs, for their hands and other player's hands. The risk of a large investment can break you quickly putting you on tilt, or in the best case, give you an excellent payoff in the end. The point is to be the dominant-aggressive player, folding out the casual players, the shy betters and the weak players, and putting other players on tilt so that they're either calling and raising with crap cards (increasing the money in the pot), or playing combo's so tight that you positively know when they have a made hand and you can fold gracefully.

When using this strategy you identify who is seriously there to win money and who is thinking that they are at the kitchen table at home with friends on a Thursday night. You want the players to pay for calling and betting what they called with. In any case, be sure that your starting hand combination is tight and live, and that you absolutely know when to fold regardless of the investment that you have made.

Do not play this strategy if you are shy with your money or shy with your cards.  At all times you must project that you have the most invincible hand between the opponents still calling.

Your prime position to play this type of bet strategy is in late position from the bring-in.

Once you have completed the bring-in or re-raised a complete bet, look at the fourth street cards and  compare your hand strength to what the other players have showing. If you have turned a low card or a card that presents no threat of aces-up,  trips, a straight or a flush to other players, do not raise with the hand, bet or fold. Mostly if you cannot raise on fourth street with this strategy, even if only to test the hand strength of an opponent, you should fold. If other players have taken cards that you need to make a hand, fold. If another player has turned a fourth street pair, do not play against this hand unless you intend to raise. In most cases you should fold.


Important Considerations

It is crucial to have an understanding of odds for particular hands when using advanced betting strategy. For example, the odds of a one-card draw to an open ended straight is 1 in 5. When considering to raise out the bring-in, naturally you want to consider your position and how many people are in the hand. You do not want to be in early or middle position and raise with fully live cards leaving less than the desired amount of players in the hand necessary for you to meet your drawing odds for later rounds.  With this hand, players need to stay in to see fourth street so that you can properly make a determination based on the board if you will be continuing to see the fifth street card.

Another example of understanding the raising strategy to meet your odds,  is knowledge of the odds to meet a flush. If your opening hand is a three-card flush you will need to have 4-5 players calling to see fourth street to allow for your 1 in 4.5 drawing odds to be maximized. Heads-up with a three card flush, your odds for catching your flush are less likely. You do not want to raise out potential limpers because you need them to get your odds in alignment to make your hand.

Limping in with these types of hands will also be more likely to reveal what you are up against to start; any raises of the bring-in will usually be a 'tell' as to whom is playing a pair that is worth a raise. Usually raises will come from pairs of 9 or higher, or medium pairs with an live paint card kicker.

If the three-straight or three-flush hand ends up on fourth or fifth street needing only one card to catch the best hand, this is where aggressive raising and re-raising would occur to maximize the amount of money in the pot vs players who are in with big pairs thinking that their hand is still competitive.

Another critical statistic is knowing that fifth street is where  pair hands often become counterfeited. In 5000 reviewed hands between stud hi- and stud hi/low, being over-turned or 'counterfeited' consistently occurs on fifth street. An example of this, also located on another section of this site, is a starting hand of QQ5 vs 7A7.  While QQ5 at the door vs the pair of 7's is the best hand to start, the odds for being out-turned on fifth street is far too common. If both hands have live cards to hit their second pair, the 7A7 hand will most likely turn it's Ace or trip over another 7 on this street. This is where advanced raising strategy and experience becomes evident and necessary at the table.

With big pairs, aggressive play is necessary to lock out any potential for being over-turned on fifth street. If position allows to three-bet, (re-raise over a complete bet of the bring in), you are cutting out limpers with smaller pairs and three card straights to get the hand as heads-up as possible. This increases your odds to maintain the highest pair, while decreasing the amount of players hoping  for enough callers to meet odds to catching straights and flushes.



In this example hand, only the door cards are shown. You are sitting in seat 4 with:



Seat 8 brings-in with 2d. Seat 1 calls with a Tc. Seat 2 folds with a 6s. Seat 3 raises the bring-in to a complete bet with a Kc. You (Seat 4) re-raise the completed bet with your Ah. Seat 5 folds with a Qd. Seat 6 Folds with a 4s. Seat 7 folds with a Js. Seat 8 does not call the re-raise and folds. Seat 1 calls the re-raise. Seat 3 calls the re-raise.

What you have observed from the door cards showing at this table is:

Seat 1 attempted to limp in with their T, has a 3-card flush, or a pair of Ts, since they have called the re-raise. A 3-card straight is unlikely or is a dead draw for Seat 1, because the cards needed to make the straight are already in other people's hands (AKQJ6 are on the board which would help their straight). Seat 3 who has raised the bring-in with their K, with an A sitting behind them is assumed to be representing a pair of kings. Although they may have a 3-card flush combo.

Your hand is strong enough with outs and 100% live cards, that you can raise representing that you have a pair of aces since there are no other aces or threes showing on the board. The queen behind you folds because the king and the ace have both raised representing that they are paired. There are three spades showing on the table plus one in your hand, meaning that a spade flush is a dead draw or at least, a very difficult pull. The spades at the table have all folded correctly because they are left with one less out and the strongest hands already raised in early and middle position. Now the fun begins. On fourth street the deal turns as follows:

Seat 1:
Seat 3:
Seat 4:  

Normally in a case like this you would fold, assuming that they now have three K's.  However, in a 3-way hand, your 3's are 100% live and so is your A and your flush. You've represented that you have a pair of A's. Now what? Out of first position on this hand you will only have two options to test the water; raise, or fold.

If the player actually had a 3-card flush their likelihood of catching their cards is now slim because of the clubs on the table now. Same for the player in seat 1. If seat 3 is simply betting a pair of K's you want to give them the idea that their K's won't hold up. For all that he knows, you could have trip A's already based on your earlier re-raising.

Seat 3 in first position bets. You raise with your cards being live. Seat 1 folds. You are now heads-up. Observe if the player re-raises you or if the player simply calls. He may very well be using the same strategy as you to get you to fold down by re-raising, so be very attentive at any hesitation or a feel that the player may be in some trouble and is looking for a save. Remember that your purpose is to portray that you have an invincible hand. If Player 3 re-raises, re-raise his raise to the bet cap.

At this point the investment in the pot on the part of both of the players is significant. The fifth street card will determine whether to raise or fold. If you cannot raise on fifth street, let the hand go.

Seat 3:
Seat 4:

You are now in betting position with aces-up and a live flush draw and a live full house possibility. The beauty of this hand is that between both of the players, neither player knows what they are playing and it will most likely go to the finish line with capped bets the rest of the way to portray the best hand while fighting for dominance. You are in first position the rest of the way unless he turns yet another K. Bet. Expect to be raised. Re-raise to portray that you have turned a third A.

With two cards left to draw considering your outs and their outs is a must. Once on sixth street if the player turns a card that takes the out to your full house, and helps them on a flush, either cut out the raising, or fold the hand.

Heads-up, even with the clubs that were in play earlier and folded will still make it possible for Seat 3 to draw one more card to a flush.

If on sixth street you turn a card that helps you, continue to bet and re-raise any raises to the cap.

Advanced betting strategy should be played consistently. Raising and re-raising only when you have an incredibly strong hand is a very big tell if you go back to limping in by calling the bring-in. You must be the pace-setter for playing raise-or-fold to get the most out of the pot with strong hands.  If you are not folding when you should, or playing combinations where your weaknesses are told often, take a break from aggressive play. Mix it up.

 The way you want to view your cards in advanced strategy heads-up and 3-way hands:

Too often players will check to the next player when they have flushes showing or even hesitate to bet because they are focusing on what cards they have in the hole. This is an easy tell to finding out if someone is on a draw or they are too shy or tight to raise. Make an adjustment so that your focus is not the cards in the hole necessarily, but the cards that turn for you that the other players are viewing.

Be conscious of the cards you have in the hole as well as your outs, yet be highly aware that you are the only one that knows what cards you have in the hole, and place bets and raises based on the cards that you have showing.  Make bets to represent that your highest card is paired or that you are on a flush or straight draw.

See the Tips & Tricks Section of this site for other important advanced strategy information.

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