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Poker Strategy | Seven Card Stud

Seven Card Stud for Beginners - 5th Street

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On this round the betting limits are doubled. If you do not already have a hand that could win, or needs only one card to complete, or a hand that stands to win, you should fold now. A hand requiring two outs should be folded immediately for a single bet. If you call a bet on this round, pot odds are usually sufficient to call all bets all the way to the river. The exceptions are, fold any hand that does not already beat exposed trips. Fold any second best two pair.

Ideally you have the best hand now, or you are on a very strong draw. It doesn't matter how you got there. On each street or subsequent card the hand should be reevaluated for playability. You have an additional card. Your opponents have additional cards and several new cards are probably dead to you, (in your opponents' hands.) The additional cards also change the odds. With several opponents, the number of unknown, available, cards may have been reduced to 30 this significantly changes the odds. Your flush draw, with 7 outs may be as low as 3.5:1 against on the next card or 40% to complete by the river. So now let's look at those hands we want to play to the river.

Made Hands that stand to win (Flushes, Straights, Full houses, etc.): The rule of thumb is to bet 'em out. Few opponents will bet into a threatening board. Check raising is seldom successful unless your hand is well concealed. With straights and flushes, betting out is even more important. They will seldom improve and you don't want to allow your opponents to draw for free.

Trips, {5-Diamonds}{5-Hearts} {5-Spades} {8-Diamonds}{A-Hearts}; If you started with trips or improved to trips you probably still have the best hand. Your goal is to get as much money as possible in the pot. In some situations slow playing might be a consideration, but in most cases a BET or Raise is always the best play.

• Considerations:
• VS a hand like: ?-? {Q-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}{Q-Spades} you might consider slowing down a bit. One of the worst plays in poker is to chase a higher set of trips. It has a very negative EV. If you have been driving the betting, most players will probably check raise with the trips in this situation. Always be alert for increased aggressiveness by any player that pairs their door card. They called the previous bets with something, and about 50% of the time it will be a split pair, paired door card.
• VS a hand like: ?-? {Q-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{9-Hearts} and you believe that the player is/was on a flush draw, you should definitely raise. You do not want to give him a free draw to a flush. Here lies the problem. Did he stay on a pair, 3 to a flush, or 3 to a straight? If he was betting/raising on 3rd street, he probably holds a pair, but check, calling usually means some type of draw.

Biggest pair, {Q-Diamonds}{Q-Hearts} {8-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}{A-Clubs}, even unimproved this hand could still be the best hand against few opponents. BET or RAISE. Against many opponents a big pair no longer stands to be the best hand. Be prepared to fold if any of your opponents play back.

• Considerations:
• VS. a paired door Card: ?-? {9-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}{9-Hearts} This hand would probably be first to act and should bet. A raise now may actually save you money. If they reraise, you can probably put them on trips. If they check raise, trips are probable.
• VS. a Higher Card: ?-? {J-Spades}{A-Hearts}{8-Hearts} Many players will play any hand containing 2 face cards. If this player becomes aggressive there is a good possibility that he has a higher pair. Based on your read of the player you should consider laying down your Queens, especially if there are no other Aces showing.

Small pair with a good kicker, {2-Spades}{2-Diamonds} {K-Hearts}{8-Diamonds}{10-Hearts} since you have represented a pair of kings, a continuation bet might win the pot right here, if none of your opponents have shown improvement. If a player with a higher card than your kicker plays back at you, consider folding. If some one else bets, FOLD, unless your kicker and pair are still live.

• Considerations: This was a very speculative hand to start with. Although you would like to see one more card, if your cards are still live, you should probably fold to significant action.

2 small pair, {8-Diamonds}{5-Hearts} {8-Spades}{10-Clubs}{5-Diamonds} this is a very marginal hand and for the beginner should probably be abandoned to a single bet.

4 cards to a Flush, {K-Diamonds}{Q-Diamonds} {3-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}{5-Diamonds}: With 4 cards to a flush you are probably in the hand to the end. A flush will usually win and at this point you probably get the proper odds to call.

• Considerations:
• If 5 or more of your flush cards are dead, consider folding.
• If you are drawing against a higher flush like ?-? {A-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{K-Clubs}, you should consider folding unless the pot is LARGE. (You are getting good pot odds.)
• If one of your opponents has trips, FOLD, unless the pot is huge, and there are many players. You really don't want to be trapped in a raising war with a draw. This is a Hold'em example but it can occur in stud too.
• Your flush draw should also be abandoned if the pot is small and you are heads up against a single opponent. You are probably not getting the pot odds for a call. Typically the pot should be 5 or 6 big bets before you make the call.

4 cards to a medium straight {8-Diamonds}{7-Clubs} {6-Hearts}{Q-Hearts}{5-Diamonds}: (8 high,) Like the 4 flush, you will probably be in the hand until the river, but the list of situations where you should consider folding is expanded:

• Considerations: (Unless the pot is very large)
• If more than 5 of your outs are dead, FOLD, to a bet.
• Note: an inside, gut shot straight, {8-Diamonds}{9-Clubs} {6-Hearts}{Q-Hearts}{5-Diamonds} is not a straight draw.
• Fold if someone is drawing to a flush with higher cards, ?-? {A-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{J-Clubs}
• Fold if someone is drawing to higher straight, ?-? {9-Hearts}{8-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}
• Like the flush your straight draw should be abandoned if the pot is small and you are heads up against the bettor.

Again, unlike Hold'em where you only see your two card hand, by 5th street you have seen your 2 down cards, the door card of every player, and all of the up cards of the players still in on 4th street and on 5th. You usually know 18 cards by 5th street that leaves only 36 unknown cards. Remember to adjust your odds.

Drawing hands usually go to the river, if they have a high potential for winning if they hit, but often you may find yourself drawing dead or to the second best hand. The real key here is to determine/guess what your opponents down cards are. To do that, ask yourself these questions. (Remember to take into the account all of the exposed cards.)

What 3 cards would he call with on 3rd street? Most players have some standards and they are usually similar those in Part 1 of this tutorial. Loose players simply play more, dry high card hands. If he called a bet on 3rd street you can usually restrict those holdings some.

Did 4th street help? If so, how did it help? Did he call a bet or raise?

How did 5th street help his hand? These questions should allow you to narrow down his possible holdings to only 2 or 3 different hands. With a little practice you will find that you can put him on a specific hand with high confidence. This is a major difference from Hold ‘em.


Hone your 7 Card Stud skills at Full Tilt and Poker Stars.

6TH Street Coming.  Read 4th Street.

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