When you play Seven Card Stud, your most important decision will be whether to call, raise, or fold on your first three cards. When playing at tables with lower stakes, stay with only the following starting cards:
§ Three to a Flush
§ Three to a Straight
What happens when people play Seven Card Stud is that they would not usually stay on these types of starting hands. At this point, it becomes a disciplined decision. Now let us talk about a few of these regarding strategy.
The first starting hand mentioned is a three-flush. If you are playing in a loose game, this hand is playable. In this case, if you think the hand will be four-way or even better on Fourth Street, you should call only if you see one or two of your suit on the table. This is where watching and paying attention to your opponent’s cards is going to give you an advantage. If playing in a tight game, meaning hands are not often more than a heads up, you would want to fold on three-flushes unless you have in your hand two top cards that are live and your flush is live. If you find yourself playing against another player that seldom raises unless he or she has a premium pair, then you would want to fold the three-flush.
When it comes to trips, these are dealt only on rare occasion and when you do get them, you can be almost certain of winning no matter how they are played. In most cases, you would want to play them slowly as a means of luring the other players to build the pot. However, to make the best of your cards, if you are confident that one of the opponent’s will not give you credit for them and call, then you should play the trips fast. This scenario would most often apply when other players are already in the hand at the time you raise and/or if you are showing a high card. By raising and not just calling in this type of situation, you will win a higher pot.
Pairs are considered “premium” when they consist of the ten cards or better. When you have premium pairs, raising from just about any position is justified. If an opponent raises with a Queen and you are holding a pair of Kings in your hand, be sure to raise again. The goal is to eliminate any players that might want to call with marginal hands. Take control and do not allow this to happen by shutting them out with a raise or second raise. If you do not take this action, that player may draw and come out ahead. If you are holding a premium pair, call if you think another player has a higher premium pair. If you are almost positive that another player has a higher premium pair, then you should fold. Again, watching the table and your opponents is what will keep you on top of the game.