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5 Can’t-Lose Poker Strategy Tips for Seven-Card Stud

Updated: Nov. 28, 2022

Playing some seven-card stud? Hone your poker strategy and avoid a tough fold with these expert tips.

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The Basics

Seven-card stud is a popular (and easy) poker variant. Players are dealt two cards face down, then one card face up—you’re allowed to look at your face down or “hole” cards. Betting goes clockwise from there, and players can call, fold, or raise. Once betting is done, players are dealt another face-up card. This pattern continues through the sixth card, after which players are dealt a face-down seventh card. After the final round of betting, everyone reveals their hands: The player with the best five-card hand from the seven dealt wins. Got it? Now, a few poker strategy tips to better your game.

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Poker strategy: When to fold.

Getting a three-card suit or sequence of cards is a long shot, so without anything good in the first couple of rounds, you’re probably better off folding unless most of the table has stayed in the game. Only bet against a single remaining player (or two) if you’re already holding a high pair or better.

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Poker strategy: When to get agressive.

If you have an ace or king in the first three cards, stay in the game. If you have a pair of either, play aggressively from the outset.

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Poker strategy: How good are your best cards?

“The best hand going in wins.” The better the cards you decide to play, the more you may expect to win. Expect some heartbreaking setbacks along the way, though.

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Poker strategy: Stay for two more cards…

if the first three cards have the same suit or form a sequence. If you get a fourth that fits the suit or sequence, keep going. Otherwise, fold after the fifth card.

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Poker strategy: Watch the betting action.

A pair in the hole (also called a wired pair) is a promising hand, but not if the pair is probably beaten by cards visible on the table. The betting action may guide the decision to call or fold.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest