February, 2016 - A short handed 7 Card Stud poker table is typically six players or less and it requires a different playing strategy then when playing with nine or more people at a long handed table. You will still need to pay your antes the same every hand no matter how many people are at the table unlike Hold'em where only two players pay a blind per hand. Read the article below to improve your short handed 7 Card Stud skills. I have added some links below to our other Seven Card Stud strategy articles. The author of these articles is a well respected member of 2+2 and has several major Stud tournament titles under his belt.
The major change when playing short handed is you will need to lower your starting hand requirements so you will be able to play a wider range of hands. Your other opponents will be doing the same therefore making the table looser. So lower connectors that you wouldn't play regularly now have better odds of winning because everyone has lowered their standards.
If you play too tightly you will still win some hands but a lot less then the rest of the table. While your folding the other players will be anteing in to see the 4th street and so on. Even though you’re paying less each hand by only paying the starting ante if you fold you will see your stack start to decline because you’re the only player not winning any pots. This is the same with any variation of poker as the pot odds change depending on how many players are in the game.
Hands that have a higher value in a long handed game like high suited connectors (9,10) lose some of their value because shorthanded games struggle to supply sufficient pot odds to correctly draw to them. High value face cards increase in values because they are more likely to take the pot without any improvement. Such as an Ace with a semi high kicker because this hand is worth raising before you see the 4th street.
You will also need to play more aggressively in short handed games. When playing in a long handed game you want to play about 15 to 25 percent of the hands your dealt but in short handed games that number increases to approximately 33 percent. Position won't play into it since the order of action changes with every hand but it's still important to see how the person acts, do they check or raise.
Cards will increase in their value every time a new street is dealt. A middle pair or even a bottom pair's value can increase after the 4th street so where you would regularly fold if that was all you had now you need to stick around especially if the other players have also shown they are loose and aggressive as well.
Since this isn't Hold'em at the end of the 7th street you will have 3 cards face down and four showing. This can make it easier for the other players to guess what your holding especially when a middle to high pair is face up. Most players would fold and the hand wouldn't go to a showdown but if part of your best hand is face down it may go to a showdown so continue to be aggressive so you don't miss your pot.
You will need to remain somewhat cautions even though the drop in starting cards is standard it can become far more tempting to become committed to a pot with a substandard hand. You will need to put on your poker face because there is a lot more gambling involved then with long handed play. But this doesn't mean there's less value in laying down a made hand.
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