- Looking for a new game to learn? Daniel Negreanu publishes YouTube guide
- Poker legend gives you everything you need to get started with this once hugely popular poker variation
No Limit Texas Hold’em is, beyond any doubt, the most popular form of poker played these days. However, this popularity also means that many players are also fairly decent at the game, making it harder to win. The solution to this problem proposed by the six-time WSOP bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu is to learn new games and become good at them.
With his brand new video series, Negreanu aims to teach people how to start their adventure into the world of other forms of poker, starting with Seven-Card Stud. This game is basically No Limit Hold’em of the past, as it was spread in most casinos around the globe prior to Hold’em taking over.
Negreanu explains the basic rules of Seven-Card Stud in his video, but we won’t spend too much time going over these in this article. You can find all this information on a number of sites and in many poker books, as Stud has been around for so long.
The fundamental difference players need to know about is that Seven Card Stud isn’t a community cards game, so there aren’t flops, turns, or rivers. Instead, every player will be dealt seven cards by the end of a hand (provided they don’t fold on any of the earlier streets), and the best combination of five cards wins. Hand values are the same as in Hold’em, so a pair beats a high card, two pair beat a single pair, etc.
Additionally, Stud is almost never played as no limit. Games are usually limit or, less frequently, pot limit, which significantly affects the strategy.
Less formulaic & more engaging
As Negreanu emphasizes, Hold’em has become very formulaic these days. Most people know what good hands to play before the flop are, what hands they should give up, etc. With Seven Card Stud, there is much more thinking involved, as you can see some of your opponents cards, so you have much more information available (four cards are dealt face up, while three cards are dealt face down).
Hand equities also run much closer in Seven Card Stud. For example, a pair of Aces against a pair of Kings in Hold’em is more than 80% favorite. In Stud, Aces would only be around 65% favorite in the same situation. This discrepancy stems from the lack of community cards, which means your opponent could improve to two pair, while you stay in there with a single pair of Aces. This can’t happen in Hold’em, because, if there is a pair on the board, both players get to use that pair.
Hand selection and dead cards
Like in Hold’em, knowing what hands to get involved with in Stud is crucial to your success. A good starting hand selection will make your life easier, as you’ll avoid many tricky situations where you’re left guessing if your hand is any good.
Of course, due to all the factors mentioned by Negreanu, picking the hands to go with isn’t as easy, and a lot of it will depend on ‘dead’ cards, i.e. cards that could improve your hand, but you can see them already dealt out on the table. For example, if you have a three-flush hand, like 2, 5, 7 – all hearts, you might consider continuing if you don’t see any hearts out there. On the other hand, if three hearts are already dead, and this hand doesn’t have much potential beyond making the flush, you’re best off letting it go and moving on to the next one.
A similar principle applies to three-straight hands like 6, 7, 8, but these hands are even weaker, as you’ll need to hit very specific cards on the fourth street to stay in the hand facing aggression. Although they look pretty, these small rainbow rundowns aren’t particularly strong.
You’ll find plenty useful tips in Negreanu’s video to get you started with Seven Card Stud. Although this game has gone a bit out of style over the past couple of decades, there are still some juicy games running, and if you get your strategy right, Stud can be a very profitable and interesting game to play. If you’ve grown a bit tired of Texas Hold’em, why not give Seven Card Stud a chance and see where the journey takes you?
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