Choosing a Playing Style That Fits You
Being that even one Seven Card Stud pot can be incredibly long and betting intense, it’s easy for players to get caught up in saving money or winning the pot by betting high, resulting in an overall bad playing style.
Playing style, in turn, is also one of the most important elements a player must learn when attempting to become a better poker player in Seven Card Stud. In this article I will go over the different playing styles that are popular in seven card stud, and how you can choose the style that fits you best.
I also recommend checking out the Poker Terms Glossary prior to reading this guide, as there are quite a few poker slang terms referred to.
The Bull or Loose/Aggressive Player
The Bull is a name that is given to a player who is very aggressive and oftentimes loose with their bets and calls. This style is the most dangerous one in seven card stud, but as in any other poker game, it can have the highest payoff when played correctly.
Bluffs become and important factor and the main strategy for a player who’s aggressive should be to attempt to push as many other players out of the pot as possible. Usually a player who enjoys playing aggressively must tone down their aggressive style to attain chips at first, and win pots more off good hands rather than bluffs.
Then, once they have attained one of the larger chip stacks, that player would use the extra power to force the weaker players at the table to fold out of hands they would normally stay in on. Along with the playing style, a good character is essential here. Outgoing, sharp personalities can usually bluff others out of pots with ease, as opposed to quiet or shy players.
The Brick or Tight/Passive Player
On the opposite end of the Bull is the Brick, a player who only places money on hands they believe have a good chance of winning, and almost never bluffs. While in other poker games such as Holdem this playing style is considered bad, in Seven Card Stud it can be adapted to become a very powerful playing style.
The reason being is that because Seven Card Stud is such a long and betting intense game, players who are conserving money have better chances of hitting draws and gaining a large upper hand. The passive element though, as always, is a negative in Seven Card Stud, which is what leads to the next style.
A Tight/Aggressive player is not only one of the hardest types of players to read, but also one of the most dangerous in a Seven Card Stud game. The key to playing Passive/Aggressive in Seven Card Stud is to fold out of any hand that seems to be developing slowly, and to play your good or potentially very good hands especially strongly.
As far as making sure to fold at the correct time, I usually don’t draw past the 4th card before deciding to fold because by then you will have already had been fishing for cards and will be in a weak position. Multiple draws, either straight or flush, are excellent hands to push hard on with betting, while two pairs or regular pairs should definitely be folded early on. Of course, if you have any relatively strong hand you should always bet high and often, while if you have weak ones fold out as early as possible.
Choosing Your Style
Between the four styles I have described here, each player should be able to decide on which would fit them best and adapt it as necessary. I recommend trying each of them during home games to become familiar and find your best fit, because it is always worth the potential loss if you can end up winning more often in the future.
Personally I play tight/aggressive, because I don’t have to deal with as many bluffs, and it adapts well towards tournaments as well. Any Seven Card Stud player can use one of the styles explained here to their advantage though, and testing each style can really help benefit a player of any experience level.
As a sidenote, I have adapted the guidelines here for a Seven Card Stud player, but for the most part they can be adapted to the other basic types of poker games. The terms used here also are interchangeable with any poker game, so feel free to use this as a guide towards reading and playing in anything from texas holdem to Omaha High-Low, but once again, just using the general concepts.