A player pairing his fourth street card is more likely to have two pair than trips.
A player who makes a flush is likely to make it in the suit of his doorcard.
A player cannot have a full house at fifth or sixth-street without showing at least one pair. The same is true of four of a kind at fifth or sixth-street. But be cautious at seventh street , it is possible for a rival to have full house, four of a kind, with no pair showing on his board.
For a player to have a straight flush on seventh-street, he must be showing at least two of its cards on his board at fifth and sixth-street, at least three.
Suppose that after getting his seventh-street card, a player looks at his three down-cards and then at his up-cards and then at his down-cards and then at his up-cards. Why so? He is trying to match it out if he has made a straight? Even a novice can see the flush at his glimpse. But for many players, a straight has to be figured out and put in order.
Let's take another read which many poker players don't know about: A player bets on the end and don't get called. If he takes another look at his hand before tossing it in, he made a big hand. He wants to see it one more time before giving it up it is possibly a flush. It is unlikely to take a peek at a straight because a straight is not so good as a flush or a full house.
A betting style to watch for in spread-limit games, where players can choose the size of their wagers, is known as The Milk Route. Many players who use it do so normally without thinking it. In a $1-$5 game, the milk route player bets $2 at fourth-street. At fifth-street his bet is $3. His sixth-street bet is $4. Seventh-street brings the maximum $5 bet. Milk-route bets are made in comparable amounts in bigger spread-limit games such as $2-$10.
This player has what he thinks to be a strong poker hand and wants to milk it to keep you in the pot. If your rival had a marginal hand, he either wouldn't bet at all or he would bet the maximum to get you out. He doesn't, so he wants you in.
A $1 or $2 bet doesn't always mean that your rival is on the milk route. But otherwise, what does each bet size mean? That's what you have to determine from observing and remembering. The meaning of a bet will be different in different rivals. A$1 or $2 bet might mean that he is just loose, not much of a gambler and wants to bet but not a lot. Many players will make a small bet at fourth-street of 7-card stud when they have a four flush. Their logic is that they want to get some money into the pot in case they make a flush, but don't want to bet as much in case they miss. Only careful observation will get you this kind of knowledge of your rivals.
A rival's maximum bet might mean that he wants you out of the pot because he has a medium-value hand that he would like to win with right now without taking any further risk. Or it could mean that he is strong enough to beat you, but he thinks that you have enough of a hand to call his maximum bet.
Many players want to limp in if they have a three-straight or three-flush so as to get the correct pot odds to draw to the hand. Or if they don't understand those odds, they just want to play starting hand as cheaply as possible until it turns into a made hand. Some will raise with a big cards in their straight or flush starts, so a raise from an ace doesn't mean a pair of aces. Therefore study the players so that you will know what they tend to do.
Some players never raise with a drawing hand, so a raise from them showing an ace or king generally means that they have a pair of that card or a hidden medium pair. It can also mean big trips. That's a long shot, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen. However, if you put a rival on a big pair when he really has trips, it will probably cost you some money. This is what they call it gambling. But most players won't raise at third street with big trips.
If a rival raises at third street showing a high card, two out of three times expect him to have a split pair of that rank. If someone raises at third street showing a small card, you will want to know if he has a pair of that card or a larger hidden pair. The smaller his upcard, the less likely he is to be raising with that pair. Figure him for the large hidden pair or if he is a player who raises with three-flushes, give him two big cards in the hole of the same suit as his upcard.
With few players on stud poker table, a raise with an ace showing at third-street is more likely to be a pair of aces if there is another ace showing elsewhere on the board. With one of his aces gone, the raiser feels more obligatory to defend his pair of aces because the chances of improvement are reduced. This same player will be the type to not raise with aces if he figures they are all live, giving him a better chance of improving. The same is applied to the other big pairs. This is your job to find out which players do that.
If a rival who has just limped in at third street is raised and then he re-raised, think of a strong hand, no matter what he is showing. He most likely has a big pair at the least, higher than any upcard showing and also probably three of a kind.
Reading hands is an art. It is difficult to set up rules for reading hands however, this has been explained with the help of some examples which will give you the idea of the reading process some guidelines to help you in most situations.
There are players at the table who try to mislead you. For example, on a later street, a player makes a maximum bet, firing his money into the pot while saying Call if you don't like money. Would he say that if he had a strong he knew would beat you? Probably this is not. Most of the players try to act weak when they are strong and strong when they are weak.
A player bets at seventh-street without looking at his last card. He is trying to give you the impression with his blind bet that he is already so strong that the last card doesn't matter. If that were true, would he want to announce it to you, cutting off your call? No. He would be trying to look weak so that you would call his bet. Or he is trying to look strong so that you won't call his bet. He is on a flush or straight draw, is expecting you won't call and expecting that he made it if you do call. Most of the time, he didn't make it, if there's any money in the pot, call.
Suppose if a player limps in showing the T ? with three or four more diamonds showing on the board, you can assume that he isn't starting with three diamonds. It is possible that he has a pair or a three-straight. Trips can also be the possibility, but are a long shot. If two other tens are showing on the board, he will have a small or medium pair in the hole. He wouldn't be playing with a weak pair of tens.
Suppose your rival's upcards at fifth-street are 5-8-6 , all off-suit in that sequence. He called a bet at fourth-street and now when he gets the six at fifth-street, he raises. Most players will give him credit for a straight. But just think back to third-street. Would he have started with a 4-7 in the hole and five showing? If they were suited the case would be different. But then he got an un-suited eight at fourth-street and still played. He wouldn't call a bet holding only an 8-to-1 shot three-straight in four cards. He has two pair or trips. Most novice to intermediate players will give you credit for the highest hand you could possibly be holding, and then play you that way.
Let's assume that a rival calls your third-street raise showing a small diamond. At fourth-street he gets another small diamond. You bet. He raises. At fifth-street he catches a spade. You check and instead of the bet that you expect, he checks along behind you. He has a flush draw. His fourth-street raise was deliberated to buy a free card in fifth-street, which it did. If he catches a diamond on sixth-street, play him for a flush.
Solid poker gets the money at these limits
One important part of material before we get to the strategy of seven-card stud: Don't think that the consistent winners at low and medium limit poker are the players with the smooth moves and advanced strategies. It is not necessarily so. Solid poker is what gets the money at these limits and the consistent winners are those players who make very few mistakes.
Play solid as mistake-free as possible and you will be a consistent winner.
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