Seven-Card Stud Hands
As with the other poker games you've read about so far, knowledge of hands will be a big help to you when playing Seven-Card Stud. This section covers the best and worst starting hands to have in a Seven Card Stud game, as well as some information about trap hands and how to play them.
Quite a few online poker rooms offer an automatic mucking option if you lost the hand and do not want your opponents to see what you were calling with. If this feature is available on the Internet site you play on, it would be wise to select this option to avoid giving away any tells.
The Best Starting Hands
Following is a list of the universal best starting hands for all Seven Card Stud games, starting with the best hand and working down to the least of the best playable hands. All of the top five starting hands should be raised before the flop. And if you do not already know them, commit them to memory before you play in your first online or offline Seven-Card Stud poker game.
Ace-Ace-x, suited (As-Ad, 9s)
King-King-x, suited (Kh-Kd-Jh)
Queen-Queen-x, suited (Qd-Qs-8s)
Jack-Jack-x, suited (Jh-Jd-8d)
Ten-Ten-x, suited (10d-10h-Jd)
If you play only these starting hands, you may not play many hands — but when you do play, you will usually do well as long as you do not trap yourself and chase.
What kinds of cards would make up medium pairs and connectors?
Medium pairs would be cards such as 9-9-x, 8-8-x, and 7-7-x, and your medium connectors would look something like Js-10s-x, Js-9s-x, 10d-9d-x, down to 8c-7c-x.
There are also other starting hands that many slightly looser players still consider premium starting hands. These would include starting hands with As-Qs-10s or any other high cards that give you the nut flush and a potential straight or royal flush. Many players will play any three suited cards as long as one is the Ace.
The Worst Starting Hands
Following is a list of the universal worst starting hands for Seven Card Stud games, starting with the best of the worst, and working your way down to the last of the playable hands:
Ace-Two-Seven, off-suit (As-2d-7c)
Ace-Two-Eight, off-suit (As-2d-8c)
Two-Five-Nine, off-suit (2s-5d-9c)
Ace-Two-Five-King, off-suit (As-2d-5c-Kh)
Ace-Two-Nine, off-suit (As-2c-9d)
The first three cards you are dealt in a Seven-Card Stud poker game will tell you whether you should fold, call, raise, or re-raise. When your cards speak to you, always listen; when you do, you will make fewer costly mistakes.
Your first three starting cards are the most important of all the cards you will be dealt. And if you do not make the right decision on Third Street, and choose to call any bets with a mediocre or bad three-card starting hand, then you will most likely end up being outdrawn and losing the hand.
So the best advice you will get regarding bad starting hands is to just not even think about playing them if you don't have any pairs or any real drawing possibilities.
When playing Texas Hold'em games, all you have to be concerned with is how the board helps you make the nuts. You have only five cards to study, along with your hole cards, to see if your hand is the best hand out there. However, when playing Seven-Card Stud poker, you have to do this not only with your cards but also with the four face-up cards of each of your opponents to try to figure out what they could possibly have that could beat you.
Trap Hands and How to Play Them
A trap hand is really not the kind of hand that you would want to play if you plan to increase your bankroll. For example: You are dealt that coveted suited Ace, along with another suited card, but your third card is what would be considered a dangler because it is completely useless in your hand. But you call to see your Fourth Street card, and your hand is now (Ac-6d)-9c-2c. The betting round is still inexpensive, so you decide to call the bet.
On Fifth Street, your hand is (Ac-6d)-9c-2c-2s. All you have is a pair of Deuces and a club flush draw. By the time the betting gets to you, the pot has been raised. Do you call the raise and pray that you see another perfect, perfect on Sixth and Seventh Street? Or do you fold and cut your losses?
Most players will call and hope for the best. So let's assume you have called and now your cards on Sixth Street look like this: (Ac-6d)-9c-2c-2s-Jc. Now you are really trapped and will have to call to see the Seventh Street card, because if you weren't strong enough to fold on Fifth Street, then you surely won't be strong enough, let alone disciplined enough, to fold on Sixth Street.