December, 2013 - Like Texas Hold’em, Omaha or any other poker game, probably the most important decision you will make is what starting hands to play. Time and again new players and experienced players cost themselves hundreds and thousands of dollars simply by playing too many hands. You need to adopt a strategy of being very selective when deciding whether or not to play a starting hand in Seven Card Stud. It will represent the difference between winning and losing! This article will break down the best starting hands for Seven Card Stud and give you some tips for each hand. Here are some additional Seven-card Stud strategy articles for you to read after you finish this one.
This is without a doubt the best hand you can start with in Seven Card stud. Usually with this hand it’s okay to slow things down a little and see if you can bring someone along for the ride. Always be aware of the rank of your three of a kind however. The stronger trips containing face cards will slow play better, while the lower hands say six or below you might want to slow play only a little or not at all. This all depends on your opponents playing style and the cards they are showing.
A wired pair is when both of the paired cards are concealed and no one else can see them. This is always a powerful hand when you have a concealed pair, but remember you want them to be high in rank. Don’t get caught up in the idea of playing every wired pair, play only the best. Usually a hand like this warrants aggressive betting and raising from the get go. If your door card is a face card, you can take a particularly strong stance and most likely will get respect from your opponents.
A split pair is when one of the paired cards is concealed and the other is showing. While this is also a strong hand, you want an even higher pair then you would when your cards are wired to make up for the inherit weakness of one of your cards being exposed. This is another situation where you will want to play aggressively from the onset and try to eliminate players from the hand. If you pair your door card, watch out for players who stick with you or even raise. A paired door card is a pretty consistent sign of trouble in Seven Card stud and anyone that stays with you could have a really good hand.
The real important part about this starting hand is to make sure the cards are high in rank. Low ranking flush cards are just bad news in Seven Card stud. Often times if you make the flush someone else’s will be higher and if you miss your flush, since your cards are low in rank you can’t really pick up anything else that would be that powerful. Stick to flush cards that are eight or higher and sometimes don’t even play those, the best are those containing face cards or an ace. If you don’t catch a card you need by fourth street you need to seriously consider giving up on the draw. Trying to see cards for as little as possible is a good strategy with this type of hand.
This is the most questionable starting hand on this list and you need to exercise caution when proceeding with it. Look for hands that contain tens through aces because middle or low ranking straights are just bad news in Seven Card stud. Like when playing the flush hand, make sure you are well on your way to completing the hand by fourth street or you probably will end up costing yourself a lot of money and not completing the draw.
So what are the statistics for starting hands in 7-Card Stud poker? This question is common among new Stud poker players that have not put in tens of thousands of hands. After playing Stud for a while you will have a general idea of how rare or common a certain starting hand is in 7 Stud. I can save you some trouble and provide some basic starting hand stats for Stud poker:
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