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Seven Card Stud
is novice’s choice

Nov 11, 2003 2:54 AM

Casinos that have poker rooms simply provide the tables and dealers, and charge the players an hourly fee or take a percentage of the pot; players gamble against each other. The games usually offered are seven-card stud and Texas Hold’em.

In Nevada, hold ”˜em in its various forms is king. On the east coast, players seem to love seven card stud. Most beginners start with seven-card stud. It’s simple to learn, and the betting sequence provides for substantial pots.

Play begins with the dealer giving each player two cards face down and then one card face up. The player with the lowest card showing makes the first bet. Other players can match the bet, increase the bet or withdraw.

Another card is dealt face up, and the player with the highest hand showing starts this round of betting. This is repeated until four cards have been dealt face up. The seventh and final card is dealt to the players who have remained in the game, and the final round of betting begins. During this "showdown," players may "raise" a bet up to three times. When the last bet is covered or "called," the dealer calls for the showing of hands, and the highest hand wins.


Experts believe the first three cards dealt nearly always determine the outcome of the game. Therefore, playing the first three cards is the most important part of the poker game. If none of the combinations described below are dealt in the first three cards, drop out.

1. Three of a kind: The odds are about 400 to 1, but it does happen. Play the hand, covering all bets, but don’t raise until the sixth card. You want the pot to build, as you have a winning hand in most games.

2. A pair of aces or kings: A good starting point, but watch the table for cards that will improve your hand. If they appear, your chances of winning are reduced. After the fifth card, if betting is heavy and you have not increased the value of your hand, drop out.

3. A pair of queens or jacks: An open pair (one card showing) reduces the value of your hand. Again, if betting is heavy after the fifth card and you have not bettered your hand, drop out.

4. Three cards to a straight flush: A very good start because there are several ways to improve it. Bet or raise during the first round. But after the fifth card, if you have not drawn a card to the straight flush, flush or straight, drop out.

5. Three cards to a flush: With this hand you should complete the flush in one out of six hands. Hold it until the fifth card is dealt. If you have not received another card in your suit, drop out.

6. A low pair (10s or less), three high cards (ace, king, queen or jack), or three cards to a straight: After the fourth card, if you have not increased the hand’s value, drop out. You must have good cards to work with. Wait until the next hand; don’t bet your whole bankroll on a losing hand.