In seven-card stud, the most important decision to make is whether to get involved in the pot or not. And the second importance is whether you continue to play at fifth-street or not. It is here that the betting will tend to become heavier in a spread-limit game and the limits will double in a fixed-limit game. And on fifth-street, players either have made their hand or have a holding to which they can draw to make a finished hand. However, there are exceptions. Always keep in mind the following “rule of play”: Don't stay past fifth-street unless you are planning to stay to the end.
If you started with three-of-a-kind and have made full house, four-of-a-kind you can afford to lay back a bit – slow-play. You know you are only going to win the pot and you don't want your rivals to fold their cards. Call any bets made from your rivals. It would be a mistake to go for a check-raise but many players just do that. You will have tilt the strength of your hand too early, and will have given your rivals a chance to fold without contributing to your bankroll.
If the game permits for an opportunity as to how much you can bet (especially in a spread-limit game) we suggest three-quarters of the allowable maximum bet. Don't be sweet and bet the minimum. Your board will be showing at least one pair and all but the least complicated of players will see through your little trap.
Call any of your raises, but don't re-raise – not at this moment. Wait for the right moment that is on the sixth-street. At fifth-street, it is easy for your rivals to let go of their hands, even drawing hands. Not much of the money invested by them and so they don't feel compelled to “protect” their money. You should never feel that you must protect the money you have put in. Once it is in the pot, it is longer yours unless you win the pot. It belongs to the pot and requires no protection. The reason for continuing to play a hand is if it is a good chance to win: You have either the best poker hand or the best draw.
If you haven't improved your trips, you still have a strong hand. But you must be careful of players who have now paired with cards that rank higher than your trips especially if they have paired their doorcards. It is possible that they have trips which are higher than yours. But if both their third-street and fourth-street upcards are suited, it is possible that they have been drawing to a four-flush and have now added a pair. This gives them a strong draw. You should bet or raise as much as you can to try to knock them out, or to make them pay the maximum to try to beat your holding. You are still a favorite.
A rival who pairs his fourth-street card is more likely to have two pair than three-of-a-kind
If the rank of his exposed pair is higher than your trips, you would rather have him out. If his hand is two-pair then you have him beaten. However if you both make full houses, your rival will be higher than yours (if he makes this higher pair rather than his other pair), and you will lose lot of chips.
More two cards yet to come, your odds are good for making a full house thus you will be staying to the end. But continue to read the board for the cards you need, and for the cards that you figure your rivals need. If your needed cards are gone, and if you are getting a lot of action from players showing three-to-a-flush while their cards are still live, you could be drawing dead. It is very difficult to throw away three-of-a-kind; use your best judgment as far as possible.
If there is no tough competition you can play your hand (trips) as aggressively as you can, especially against several players. Someone is drawing to something. You can ignore that thing. Against one player with having just one pair you can play aggressively.
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