In seven card stud, the same as in any other poker variation, you decide how to play according to the knowledge you have on your opponents hands. But unlike Texas Holdem and Omaha, for example, where the community cards provides sufficient information to estimate the value of your hand comparing to your opponents hands, in seven card stud, since each player is dealt seven cards, the situation is more complicated.
However, once you master seven card stud strategy, your odds would improve significantly and you will be able to enjoy one of the most challenging and exciting poker variations available. Here are some seven card stud strategy tips to begin with:
At the same time you are looking at your cards and trying to appreciate your odds, take a look on your opponents face up cards and try to estimate their opportunities.
Do not hesitate to fold if you cannot stand a chance in front of your opponents face up cards
When a card that can help you improve your hand is at your opponents face up cards, fold. For example, when you are holding three same suited cards and you see five cards of the same suits on the table, it would be best if you would save your money to future games and fold
Basically, the best starting hands in seven card stud are: any three of a kind, any pair, three flush and three straight
Pay attention to the cards folded by the other players as well; it will prevent you from staying in the game believing that the card you need to strengthen your hand may be available not knowing it had already been folded
If you find it hard to keep track with all the folded cards, try to remember the number of folded cards of the same suit. For example, keep track on the number of hearts have folded during the game; when more than 3 cards of the same suit are no longer available, your chances of forming a flush in that suit are vanished
If one of your opponents is raising at the second round of betting, you should reconsider dropping out of the game, even when you are in a low limit game and the financial risk is still small
If in the third betting round you have a decent hand, if you raise your bets you might be driving them to fold. If you have a really good hand, you can go easy on your bets; otherwise, you will be scaring off your opponents
When the final card is dealt, try to pick up information on your opponents hand according to their facial expression. When a player look wanders towards the chip, there is a big chance that he is heading for a win
At the last betting round, do not check raise; your opponents may be doing the same to see whether you are bluffing and it can eventually only increase your losses
If more than one player besides you remained on a draw and you have a reason to believe that your hand is not the strongest, forfeited your hand
If it is a heads up match and you are certain that your hand beats your opponent's hand, call a single bet. In a situation like this, you are risking only the loss of a single bet, which is much better than risking the loss of the entire pot!
Mastering Seven Card Stud Poker does take a lot of practicing. However, if you keep focusing on your hand as well as your opponent face up cards and folded cards, be selective about your starting hands, your chances of winning will grow. Good luck!