May, 2013 - In 7 Card Stud there are many different opposing ideas in regards to the perfect strategy. Several very respected 7 Card Stud players from the major online poker forums have contributed to this section. I have tried to include as many different strategies as possible to give you a look at all sides of the spectrum (tight aggressive, loose aggressive, tight passive..ect). I personally believe a true master of Seven Card Stud strategy will need to be able to play all of these styles well. Bankroll management in 7 Card Stud has not been included in this guide but you can find general information on it by searching on Google. Being able to adapt to the ever changing variables at the table (# of players at the table, type of players) will sometimes require you to switch styles and strategies in order to play optimal Stud. The 7 Card Stud strategy articles below written by respected players with different styles. I will be adding a bingo section in the near future since many Stud players are bingo enthusiasts as well.
In this section I will provide some basic Stud tips that are not covered within the articles listed above. These are universal strategies that you can always count on to give you an edge regardless of the type of player you are or who you are up against. The first thing I want to talk about is table selection. Most 7 Card Stud players that I talk to admit that they rarely look at the tables stats before sitting. I for one have never understood why players ignore this valuable data. Below you will find the table data most poker rooms provide:
This data can be misleading but when you factor in the "players/4th" percentage (explained below) you should have fairly accurate picture of what type of players you will be up against. The rule of thumb is the higher the average pot size, the looser and/or more aggressive the players are. Nine times out of 10 the tables with high average pot sizes also have a high players/4th percentage. A tight aggressive style will usually do well in this situation, as long as the table has 5 or more players.
This field is usually labeled either Plrs/4th, Plr/4th or Players/flop at online poker sites. The percentage listed is the average combined number of players that stay in each hand until 4th street (the 2nd betting round). For instance, if a table has a 25% plrs/4th rating that would mean that each player is staying in, at least until 4th street, 1 hand out of 4. This information can be very useful when you are looking for a juicy table. Here is some info that will help you spot "weak tables".
If you are a tight player and tend to only play the premium Stud starting hands you will typically do well at a table with a high plrs/4th percentage if there are 5 or more players. If there are less players the tight playing style usually spells disaster because the loose players will be stealing your blinds and bluffing you. I have collected some data from the major 7 Card Stud sites, I have added it below.
As you can see the skill level increases as you move up in stakes, which isn't surprising at all. All of the poker rooms listed on this web site have a feature that allows you to see your statistics. Pokerstars for example has a "Stats" section located by the chat box that tells you the percentage of hands you saw 4th street, 5th street and 6th street. As long as your 4th street percentage is lower than the table percentage you are playing tighter, which equals better at most tables, than the other players. The highest 4th Street/flop percentage I have seen for Stud poker in 2013 is at Bovada Poker. Medium stakes, full 8 seat ring tables commonly have 50-60% flop percentages. This means that the average player is calling bets with a hand range that is twice as wide as recommended. Around half of the hands they play should be folded. This has made Bovada one of the easiest places for an experienced 7 Stud poker player to win money at.
Bankroll management in 7 Card Stud is very important. Playing at stakes higher than your bankroll can handle is a sure way to lose. All it takes is one bad swing and your money will be gone. This is why you must play at stakes that will allow you to go on several "bad runs" without depleting your bankroll. There are many formulas you can use to determine the table stakes you should be playing at. For ring tables I usually recommend 250 times the big blind. For Seven Card Stud sitngos and tournaments I usually suggest 40 times the buy-in. Below are some examples on bankroll management for 7 Card Stud poker.
7 Card Stud Bankroll Management For Ring Tables:
7 Card Stud Tournament & Sitngo Bankroll Requirements:
7 Card Stud bankroll management isn't just about going on bad swings. Playing at stakes that are higher than you are used to can also have a mental effect and will cause you to make mistakes. If you are used to playing $2/4 and want to give the $5/10 tables a try you will likely start playing ultra tight and will be intimidated by bets that you should call but end up folding instead.
Learning how to spot weak players in 7 Card Stud poker is a key ingredient in a winning 7 Card Stud strategy. In my Seven Stud system I always look at how often a player is staying in til 4th St. The table stats only tells you the average for the entire table but once you sit down you can keep track yourself. The Stud poker community is not that large at most online poker sites so you should use the notes feature to tag players. In a matter of weeks you will have most of the regulars at the Stud tables tagged.
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