This format used to be one of the most popular poker variations back in a day. These days, games like Hold’em and Omaha have taken over the throne, but 7 Card Stud poker still exists, and it is played either as an individual variation or as a part of a game mix.
If you’re looking to take up a new game and learn it from scratch, this is definitely an interesting option. Since stud games don’t have community cards, you’ll have to develop some new skills and face some new challenges, which can be a lot of fun.
If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and need a change of pace, you should look into taking up 7 Card Stud and see how you like it. And these three tips should help you get started in no time and with very little effort.
7 Card Stud is a fixed limit game: Learn the math
The first thing you’ll need to adjust to when learning 7 Card Stud is that the game is usually played in the fixed limit format. Whether you are playing online or visiting a casino like Wynn poker room, you will not usually find too many chips flying around. The action isn’t nearly as crazy, and there are almost never any huge bluffs. Stud is much more about making correct mathematical decisions all the time and working your profits up one big bet at a time.
For someone transitioning from an action-packed game like NLHE or PLO, this may seem boring and slow-paced at first. However, you should give it some time. There will be plenty of big and exciting pots you’ll get to play in 7 Card Stud as well, but make sure to learn the odds and understand the math before even starting to play since that will highly influence your decision.
Keep your starting hands selection tight
When you’re just learning how to play 7 Card Stud, it will be very important to keep your starting hands selection quite conservative. You want to be getting involved with hands that have big potential right from the get-go and avoid tricky spots as much as you can.
With this being a fixed limit game, playing too many hands will often get you in spots where you feel like you have to keep calling even though you know you’re likely to be behind. Your ability to get away from second-best hands will improve as you gain more experience, but during your initial learning period, you’ll be better off not putting yourself in these situations as much in the first place.
Try to only play trips, big to medium pocket pairs, and coordinated hands containing three cards working together, i.e., suited and (semi)connected. By narrowing your starting range, you’ll have a much easier time making the right decisions on later streets.
As you play more and become more experienced, you’ll be able to add more and more hands. Of course, at no point should you go too crazy. Just like in Hold’em or PLO, you want to keep your starting hands selection reasonably tight.
Paying attention to face-up cards is very important
One thing that’s really completely new in 7 Card Stud, if you’ve only played flop games, is the fact many cards are dealt face up. Every player receives up to four cards face up for everyone to see. That’s a lot of information you can use.
You really want to pay attention to what cards are being exposed face-up during a hand. This knowledge will help you every time you need to decide whether you’re getting the right odds to chase your draw. If you know that a few of your outs have already been folded, you can make a much better-informed decision.
Likewise, this knowledge will help you in spots where your opponent is likely on a draw of some sort. If you have a reason to believe they’re chasing a flush, but you know that four hearts have gone into the muck already, you can apply more pressure on them by raising and forcing them to pay more than they should given their actual odds.
You’ll find that many players in lower stakes games don’t really pay much attention to these details, and they’ll often keep chasing a draw as if all of their outs were still alive. This will give you a big advantage over these players and allow you to really improve your profit margins against them by getting them to put extra bets in unfavorable spots.