7 Card Stud, Rules, Strategy & Playing Styles

One of the most demanding version of poker, 7-card stud poker involves a lot of cads on the table and demands a very different approach to betting and play. Two of the most important factors in this game are memory and strategy.

In Stud poker, the minimum buy-in is typically about ten times the low limit. Usually, the buy-in for a $2.00 to $4.00 game is $20.00. Playing with the minimum is not recommended for obvious reasons; you should generally buy in with a minimum of $80.00 in the $2.00 to $4.00 games; $320.00 for $8.00 to $16.00 games, and so on.

If you play with less than this 40-times recommended value, your chances of loosing are increased. Negative tilts will inevitably expose your under-funding, leaving you nervous and overwrought.

Betting Limits

In Stud games, the betting limits are defining. The low stakes games run online are very common, particularly online and the betting limit typically tells you everything you need to know about the players at the table. In the low stakes games, particularly low-stakes games online, you are going to encounter weak to very weak players.

Logically, then, in the higher stakes games, you’re likely to encounter experienced and expert players. They will play with stakes as high as $100.00 to $200.00, but usually between $8.00 and $16.00 or $10.00 to $20.00.

Using the stakes as guidelines, you should determine the nature of the game, the nature of the players, and the demands on your bankroll to play at particular tables.

Play Strategies in Stud Poker

Like Omaha, Stud poker requires considerable skills to generate wins. A winning player will strategize. They will memorize cards and undertake to analyze the cards they are holding, putting them together with the cards on the table and making determinations about the hands of opponents.

In stud poker, three-of-a-kind is the best opening hand and the higher ranked the cards, the better the chances of following through to a win. If your opponents know, or strongly suspect you have a triples or ‘trip’, then they will almost certainly fold so, in the interest of raising the pot, when you have three-of-a-kind you should bet modestly so as not to raise too much suspicion.

Encourage your opponents to bet by checking or calling as necessary. When you have a strong hand in Stud poker you should try to keep as many players in as long as possible because the chances are extremely strong that you are going to beat them.

Second to three-of-a-kind, the best starting hand is a high pair of ten or better. If the paired cards are in

Other strong hands are three to a flush and three to a straight.

Three to a flush is sometimes referred to as a drawing hand because you need cards to making it worthwhile. That said, you need to continue to encourage your opponents to make bets. Three cards to a flush is a hand worth raising but you need to calculate, using your experience of your opponents, how much money you can put up without raising suspicion or worse, giving away completely the strength of your hand. The general guidelines: if your door-card is ‘faces or aces’, an ace, king, queen, or jack, then a raise will give away your strength. Otherwise, you will probably escape suspicion.

Holding three to a straight puts you in a similar situation to three to a flush, except that it’s harder to complete the three card straight than the flush. These hands can be somewhat difficult to read so you should raise and reraise cautiously, while still remaining competitive.

Adjusting Your Playing Styles for Stud Poker

In Stud poker, it’s important to play quite aggressively but shrewdly. Choose both your raises and your folds very carefully so you keep your opponents guessing. You should try to force money on to the table so checking is a good policy, sufficiently aggressive and sufficiently passive.

Be conscious of your table position as you would in any other style of poker. You need also to be aware of your opponents. What their play and assess whether they play aggressively or passively; tightly or loosely and let that have some impact on your decision making when you are assessing individual hands.

In Stud poker particularly, don’t bluff strong players, those who win regularly, because they can afford to call your bet and they probably will. If you decide to bluff anyway, make sure that you have some value to your hand because this will help to make your bluff seem more credible, more threatening, particularly to opponents who are watching your actions closely.