Third Street Strategy
Let's get to the winning strategy what to do when you are sitting at the poker table with your money on the line to play seven-card stud.
If you start weak, you will end up weak. If you start strong, your hand is that much stronger when it improves. The idea is to either start strong or with a hand that can become strong with the next card. A problem that is created when you improve a weak hand is that you will not become as strong as a player who started with a strong hand.
When you do improve your weak starting hand, you may find yourself feeling committed to it for next round or two. However, this can be very expensive. If you don't make the first mistake for a dollar or two on third-street, you can't make a couple of $20 mistakes in the hand. And third-street is your first opportunity for making a mistake while playing
Before we continue, you will need to know the difference between fixed-limit and spread-limit games. Many casino poker games with limits of $3-$6 and up are fixed-limit games. You can bet or raise only a fixed amount, the lower of the two limits, up to the fifth-street. And fifth-street and above you can bet or raise only the amount of the upper limit of that game.
In spread-limit casino games, which are common at the $1-to-$5 level, you may bet any amount between the lower and upper limits at any time. In a $1-$5 game, you can bet or raise $1, $2, $3 $4 or $5. In $2-$10 spread-limit, you can bet or raise any amount between $2 and $10 at any time.
Third Street Trips
Let's look at the starting hands for seven-card stud. We will start with the hand you are least likely to be dealt: trips. The odds are 424-to-1 against your getting any three-of-a-kind for your first three cards, so they won't show up very often.
Trips can make you either win a stack or lose a stack of two
When you start playing with three-of-a-kind, the odds are good for making a full house: about 2-to-1. There is also good chance of winning game of seven-card stud. Now the question is whether to raise with trips or to just limp in with them. The answer is that it depends. At the low and medium limits, your trips should be played slowly if they are big, fast if they are small.
If your trips or tens or higher, you should only call any bets. With three nines down through three deuces, raise. While these are strong hands, they are weak not only to straights and flushes, but also to higher trips. If you start with suppose three fours and a rival starts with a pair of sevens and then catches another seven, he has you tucked up especially if his starting sevens are hidden. So raise. Try to limit the field. Defend your trips. Get that pair of sevens out on the third street.
You might ask a question Isn't a set such as three kings also weak to straights and flushes? Yes, it is but a big set is not weak to three sevens. You have a lot more wins slow playing big trips and taking your chances against straights and flushes. If you start with three kings, you would like to have a player in with a pair of sevens and expect he makes three of them.
Out of these three things, two of them are good for you. If you both fill, you win. If you both miss, you win. If your rival fills, you lose.
When you hold trips and the pot is raised ahead of you, tend to re-raise. However, in spread-limit games make it a maximum raise.
You will play this hand against the raiser and possibly one other player. But this is a not an automatic raise. Suppose you are in the late position holding three fives here at third-street. A jack raises and kings re-raises. Will you again re-raise him?
It depends on whether you want to announce the strength of your hand or want to stay back. When you re-raise in that situation (showing a six) you mean that you have either a hidden pair of aces or three sixes. If you had seen one or two jacks or kings in the upcards of players who have folded, then you should tend to raise to get more money in the pot, expecting the jack and king would both stay with you.
But if you haven't seen any jacks or kings, their hands would be live and your three sixes would be more weak, so better not to raise. Your raise would just be an attempt to knock jacks out. It might, but the kings would stay. The player with the jacks (if he values his bankroll) would fold because of the re-raise from the kings.
One more thing to consider is the kind of game you are playing with whether tight or loose.
In tight games, raise less with trips at third-street and in loose game, raise more in certain situations
The smaller your trips, the more you will tend to raise for protection. For general information, playing at the higher limits you would tend to raise with the big trips at third-street because raising would look more natural. Suppose players in the big games tend to raise showing an ace, whether or not they have another one in the hole. And they almost always raise with two aces. So if you know a player will raise with one ace or with two aces, but does not raise showing an ace, what could he have? Of course three aces. Therefore not raising in the big limits showing an ace doesn't look natural and later arouse suspicion. Note such kind of information when you move up to play $50-$100.
When we suggest a third-street raise in a spread-limit game, we are talking about a bet that is three-quarters the allowable maximum (for instance) a raise of $3 in a $1-$5 game), unless your experience with your rivals indicates that a maximum bet is needed to limit the field enough.
A bonus you get with your third-street raise is this: Anyone who calls your raise has a stronger than average starting hand and so you will be at easy to find what hand your rival is holding.
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