Introduction to 7-Stud High Poker
Star Qualities for 7 Card Stud Players
I'll start by sharing what I believe to be the "star qualities" required for 7-stud proficiency.
1) Keen observation. In order to be a great 7 card stud player you must have uncanny observation skills. There is an enormous amount of information available to every player at the table. The player who is best able to process that information gains a tremendous edge over his competition. In order to set yourself apart from the crowd, you can miss nothing.
2) Math affinity. No other game spread in any casino around the world requires a better understanding of mathematics than seven card stud. It truly is a thinking man's game. The game is about counting and discounting outs, calculating pot odds on the spot, and coming up with the correct decision street after street after street.
3) Memory. Forgetting about one card that was folded two streets ago can make the difference between an amazing call and an embarrassing one. A sharp memory is required to calculate your odds of hitting a draw in the light of all the cards which have been exposed whether sitting on the table in front of you or folded in the first round of betting. "My opponent is representing four of a kind. Didn't the case nine get folded on fourth street?" You have to know. "I'm getting 6 to 1 to draw to my flush, how many clubs have been folded?" You have to know.
4) Focus. When the pot in front of you contains 10 big bets and your otherwise sharp mind has been thinking about the bad beat you took an hour ago, you're just gambling. And that's not what top players do.
5) Patience. You have to realize that, just because you haven't seen a good hand since yesterday, your pair of 6's isn't worth a call when the player showing an ace raised and the player with a king out just made it three bets to go.
When I say that only certain players have the capacity to become great players, I only mean that mastery of the game requires a very sharp mind. I do think there are a lot of players who can learn to profit playing 7-Stud poker, if only for the schools of helpless fish who play the game on a regular basis. Remember, you don't have to be a great player to win. You just have to be better than your opponents. I think most people who decide to commit themselves to learning the game can become very competent at it. However, 7- Stud Poker is the ultimate thinking man's game. If your brain isn't crystalline, if you can't bring razor sharp logic and focus to the table; you'd be better off learning to bully your way thru No Limit Texas Hold 'em. This is a game about deductive reasoning, concentration, perception, and proficiency. You can't learn it from a book. You can't watch a video and go pro. In order to be truly great at this fascinating game you must be born with certain talents and you must hone them into money making skills.
Most poker games can be grasped at a fundamental level with a bit of study and a few hours of felt time. In NLH you can beat a field of mediocre players simply by memorizing a list of starting hands by position and studying charts on counting outs and pot odds. It would be very difficult to create a list of starting hands and formulate a handy chart that shows exactly what amount you can call with any given hand during a 7- Stud game. Most poker games are games of incomplete information where educated guesses and approximations rule the roost. In seven card stud there is just so much more information available. The player who understands how to process that information correctly is at such a decided advantage it can barely be considered gambling.
In this short series I'm going to try to provide you with the knowledge required to start winning at seven card stud. I'll tell you what starting hands you should consider and under what circumstances. I'm going to describe some situations that come up in an average session and how to adjust to them. I'll give you what you need to know in order to try your hand at this complicated and exciting game. I must warn you though; this is not a game that can be taught. It must be learned. I think I can take the average novice and fast forward his 7-Stud proficiency to a point that would take years to achieve by playing alone. I can take you from beginner to intermediate and point you in a direction toward greatness. The rest is up to you.
♣ Continued at: General Starting Hands for 7 Card Stud
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