Seven Card Stud Strategy

Third Street Play

The important thing that most new 7stud players need to learn is correct third street play. Most newbies tend to play for too many hands at 7stud, instead of simply playing the premium hands. The end up calling all the way to the river when they had a minimal chance to win the hand from the start.

Tips: Every now and then you’ll be fortunate enough to be dealt three of a kind. This is the best possible hand to receive. If your three of a kind is small, say 888 or less, you should probably play this hand strongly. Your hand is likely to be outdrawn, so you want as few of people as possible in the game. If you have JJJ or higher, you can probably wait and collect the pot.
Big Pairs: If you have TT,JJ,QQ,KK, or AA your hand is generally playable and you should go in with a raise. But, you should often be cautious with these hands. If you have TT and both of your other tens are out, your hand has lost a lot of its value. Also, if there is a lot of action on the table you should fold TT or even JJ, since chances are someone has QQ or better.
Middle Pairs: Hands like 88 or 99 are also playable but only under some conditions. You should play these hands if all of your cards are live (i.e. no others are on the board) and you have a strong kicker. This is because it is likely you will not win with just a middle pair, you’ll need your hand to improve.
Flush Draws: Three suited cards are playable, but only under certain conditions. First, ideally the flush cards should be high and close together. This way you could form a high flush ora straight or just high two pair/trips. Three random low flush cards are not playable. Also, don’t raise with a flush draw because you want as many people in the pot as possible and want to draw cheaply.
Straight Draws: You can play straight draws for a call if they are open-ended (i.e. no gaps) and your improvement cards are all live. It is also preferable that your straight is a high one, so you also have the ability to form a high two pair.

Other Key 7 Stud Concepts:
Pot Odds: It is harder to calculate in pot odds in 7 stud then limit, but the concept still applies. Again, pay attention to the number of cards that will improve your hand. If there is 10 cards showing, that means there is 42 cards left. Your odds to improve are outs/cards left, so compare that number with your bet in relation to the pot. Again, since it is difficult to have a calculator in front of you and this does not take into account implied odds, an easier way is to simply multiply your outs by 3 and compare that % to the bet/pot. Obviously this will overestimate your percentage chance for hitting, but it in a way factors in implied odds.
Pay Attention: Paying attention is key at seven stud. Often, new players just call along, hoping to hit a good hand. They don’t realize that most of their flush cards are out on the board and will even keep drawing to a flush or straight when someone has trips showing (hence, very likely to have a full house).. If you have to, drink a cup of coffee because paying attention to each and every game is crucial.

Value Betting: You should bet in a manner that makes the game the most advantageous to you. An example of that is betting hard, raising when you have two pair/trips on fourth/fifth street to shut out the draws.

Seven Card Stud Hi/Low (8 or Better) Strategy

General Seven Card Hi/Low Strategy
In this game the high hand winner must split the pot with the player with the best qualifying low hand. There is always a high hand winner but not always a low. For a hand to qualify for low, it must have five denominations no higher than an eight. Any five of your seven cards may be played for high and any five can be played for low. Aces are played both high and low. Straights and flushes do not disqualify a hand for low, so a player ending with 5,4,3,2,A would have an unbeatable low hand and a 5 high straight to play for high. This hand would have an excellent chance of winning both ways. In this example, the player could also have another hand that is higher than the 5 high straight to play for high.

  1. The most important thing to keep in mind in split pot games is the big profit difference between winning half the pot and collecting it all.Novices tend to think that winning two split pots is equal to winning one full pot. Not so at all from a profit point of view! Scooping the pot usually builds a healthy addition to your stack of chips. Getting half often puts you barely ahead of where you were before you started playing the hand. Winning Seven Card High Low players often have to settle for half, occasionally lose both high and low, but ALWAYS play only hands that have a good chance of winning it all. They never play for one side only unless they have an unbeatable one way hand or have a probable “escape” on seventh street.
  2. The second most important thing to do in Seven Hi/Lo is to get out EARLY when it looks like you don’t have the best probable winning hand! As soon as hands that start out with good possibilities for both high and low, turn into probable losers for either end, they should be folded unless they are almost certain winners for half of the pot. This also applies to strong high hands that are not an almost certain high end winner, that will probably have to split with a low.

Starting Hands for Seven Card Stud Hi/Low (8 or Better):
Newbies are generally don’t have a clue which hands to play on third street, but this is a critical concept in Stud 8. Here is a list of hands you should consider playing:

Great Hands – trips, three low straight flush cards, aces and a low card. Trips are generally guaranteed a winner of the high hand at least and may scoop if no low appears. The other two hands have great potential to win both pots.

Good Hands – Three small straight cards, AA with a higher card, two small cards with an Ace. These hands will generally at least win the low and could easily form winning high hands.

OK Hands– small pair with an ace or low kicker, three low cards, the ‘probable’ best high hand, three cards to a flush. The first two have a very good shot at winning the low and may end up winning the high too. The last two should be played very cautiously. If you think you are winning the high and don’t, you will be the fish that the high/low make their profit from. So proceed with the best high hand cautiously and dump it if it looks like it’s going to lose. Three flush cards should only be played if there is a lot of multiway action, and it’s preferable if at least two of those cards are low.

Normally Not Playable Starting Hands for Seven Card Stud Hi/Low:

  • High Straights and High Flushes.
  • Unconnected Low Cards (that can’t make a straight) without an ace or flush possibilities.
  • Pair of Nines and Pair of Tens without an Ace Kicker.
  • Unpaired High-Low Combinations.

Seven Card Stud Hi/Low (eight or Better) Strategy Tips

Many seven stud concepts apply:
Paying attention, pot odds, etc. are all seven stud concepts that apply equally as well to stud 8.

Pay attention to the math, forget bluffing: Seven Card Stud Hi/Low is a very math, technically intensive game. It is very, very hard to bluff at the lower limits, as people are shooting for both the high and low pots. The key to winning is playing a tight, aggressive game where you are getting good odds; don’t expect to win by using deception tactics like bluffing.

If you hit bad, fold it: You generally want to know by fifth street if you plan on calling all the way to the river. This way you don’t invest any big bets into a losing hand. If you have 345 (all of spades), you have a great starting hand. However, if the next two cards are JQ of hearts, your hand just turned into garbage.

The tight, aggressive wins in the long run: Since hand selection and odds are critical at stud 8, people who simply call and call are guaranteed losers in the long run. Most of the time, these people are just shooting for half the pot and their lucky catches will not offset the many bets they put into the pot attempting to escape.

Seven Card Stud Low (Razz) Basic Strategy

Starting Hands for Seven Card Low – Razz: (1st three cards)

The probability that you will be dealt this on the first three cards Expressed in percent (%) The odds against it possible combos
3-2-A (Lowest possible) 0.29 344 to 1 64
Four-High or lower 1.16 85.3 to 1 256
Five-High or lower 2.90 33.5 to 1 640
Six-High or lower 5.79 16.3 to 1 1,280
Seven-High or lower 10.14 8.87 to 1 2,240
Eight-High or lower 16.22 5.17 to 1 3,584
Nine-High or lower 24.33 3.11 to 1 5,376
Two parts of a Five-High or lower* 13.76 6.27 to 1 3,040
Two parts of a Six-High or lower* 20.63 3.85 to 1 4,560
Two parts of a Seven-High or lower* 28.89 2.46 to 1 6,384
Two parts of an Eight-High or lower* 38.52 1.60 to 1 8,512

* These starting hands either include at 10-J-Q or K or a Pair.