Top 10 Stud Tips
7-Card Stud is a classic that's been played in cardrooms across the world. It also forms the 'S' part of the mixed-game HORSE format.
Players are dealt two cards each face-down and one face-up. Rounds of betting follow, with players then dealt a further three cards face up and one down in between betting. The aim is to win with the best 5-card poker hand from all seven cards.
7-card Stud has many subtle nuances, not least the face that most of the cards can be seen by all your opponents.
With this handy top 10 list, hopefully your Stud game will improve the next time you hit the online tables.
1 - Get Used To Limit Betting
Stud is generally played Limit in all disciplines (although some online sites run the games Fixed Limit). That means pots are generally smaller, bluffs are often unnecessary, and there will be a lot of draws as players are inclined to call small bets and improve their hands.
For example, with the blinds at $100/200, the maximum raise is $100 pre-flop and post-flop, with a maximum raise of $200 allowed on the turn and river.
2 - Know Your Starting Hands
Being selective with your starting hands in 7-Stud is important; perhaps more important than in Texas Hold'em.
A good, though not definitive, list of starting hands in 7-card Stud is
(K-Q) J suited
(A-K) Q suited
3 - Starting Trips Are Your Savior
The best starting hand in 7-Stud is (A-A) A. Being dealt trips to start with is great as it disguises your down-cards and means you can continue to improve on the board with straights and flushes.
Keep in mind the average winning hand in Stud. Two pairs is usually the average winning hand in a game of 7-card Stud, so make sure you're improving on this with every draw.
Also pay attention to your opponents and their betting patterns to glean information about what their down-cards could be.
4 - All About the Steal
7-Stud is a game that is ready-made for stealing. The player with the lowest up-card showing kicks off the betting, but players can still fold before the 'bring-in' bet is placed. If you're in late position this can be a good time to steal the pot.
Further along the hand, late position can be beneficial, especially if you are showing high cards and your opponents have checked to you. Because there is so much information "out there" in the form of up-cards, it's easier to steal than in Texas Hold'em.
5 - Adjust Your Play to Suit Your Opponents
As in Texas Hold'em, a "tight is right" policy is good for long-term profits in 7-card Stud. However, don't be afraid to adjust your play. If everyone is playing tight, loosen up and steal a lot more. If they are loose, then tighten up and concentrate on your strong starting hands.
6 - Know When to Give Up On Your Draws
While continuing blindly with hands is a common leak of casual 7-card Stud players, it can be worth carrying on with strong draws, like four-to-a-flush or a solid straight draw. Stick with the hand until the river, as the value in winning the pot is more than carrying on with calling Limit bets.
As always, pay attention to what your opponent has showing up. If it looks like they're drawing to a higher hand, say a full house, know when to toss the hand away.
7 - Remember Opponents' Folded Cards
The bonus of 7-card Stud is that you can see all your opponents' up-cards. So, when they fold, don't forget about them; make strong mental notes about what they have folded so you can strike them off your list of possible outs.
8 - Take a Shot at a Big Live Event
While most lower-buyin tournaments in casinos will be played as Texas Hold'em, there's still opportunity to play 7-card Stud live.
The World Series of Poker schedule is so packed these days that you will find several Stud games carrying entries from ,500.
9 - Use Your Hand History Well
Every good poker site online allows you to revisit old hands via a hand re-player. Use these well: reviewing old Stud sessions, especially while you're learning the game, are vital to help improve play in a future session.
10 - Start With Low-Stakes Cash Games
Once you're ready to try the 7-Stud games out for cash, start low and test out the micro-stakes games. At online sites, most of the players at the low levels won't have a clue what they're doing so you can employ a tight style, or utilize some of the strategy we've outlined at OnlinePoker.com, to win small, significant pots.
Use the Play-Money Tables
The beauty of top Internet poker rooms in 2021 is that a lot of them offer play-money 7-card Stud cash games so you can get used to the rules and style of play before committing with real money.
You might even find the odd freeroll where a few hundred dollars are up for grabs in guaranteed prize money.
Use those free-play tables to improve your game, then attack the real-money games.