Playing Pocket Pairs in Seven Card Stud
One of the best and most exciting moments in a poker game is when you look at your down cards and realize you have a pair. This invigorating hand can make or break your chip stack, and devastation or heartbreak can come from it. Knowing the correct strategy behind playing these pocket pairs can make a huge difference in the outcome of the hand, and hopefully this article will give you a good understanding of how to play it.
Playing pocket pairs in seven card stud is slightly different then in other games such as texas holdem and Omaha High, because you receive 3 cards, but only two down. These 3 cards possess the potential of either having trips, a pocket pair with both down cards, or a pocket pair with one down card and one up card. I am only going to concentrate on the latter two examples; however, look forward to a future article on playing pocket trips in seven card stud.
Pocket Pair with Two Down Cards
In the situation where you have made a pocket pair with both of your down cards, your card facing up is what can really decide the play you should execute. This will be explain later though, since it is more important to learn about the basic strategy first. If the pocket pair is higher then 7’s, then you are in great shape. No one can suspect you have a pocket pair since it is in the down cards, so you need to take this opportunity to slow play. That way, if one of your cards comes face up on 4th, 5th, 0r 6th street players won’t suspect that you have trips. It is not smart to always slow play this hand, since eventually players will realize that you have a good hand every time you slow play. Also, make sure that if you are going to slow play that no players have any high face cards or possible flush or straight draws in their up cards.
If your pocket pair is lower then 7’s, then you have to evaluate your opponents up cards and their betting styles. If their up cards are not threatening, and everyone has checked, then I would recommend that you bet. This is a good move at this time because it fattens up the pot, but also shows your strength from the beginning. It is important to establish your dominance in the beginning of the hand with a hand such as that if you are hoping to win the pot.
Now that I have given you the basics of how to play, I said earlier that your up card determines the way you should play. If you have a face card as your up card, then it will be hard to bet and get players to call if everyone has checked. If you have the pocket pair higher then 7’s and your up card is as described above, then your best bet of making money is to slow play. Yet if your up card is less then a face card, you can bet your pocket pair and expect players to call your bet thinking it is a bluff.
Pocket Pair with One Down Card and One Up Card
When you have a pocket pair where one of the cards are facing up, and one are facing down, you can basically play it how I described to play above. No one will be suspicious that you have a pocket pair yet since only one card is facing up. The problem with this situation though, is it is hard to make money when you make trips on 4th, 5th, or 6th street. This is true because two of your face cards will be pairs, and thus it will be easy for your opponents to figure that you have trips. The best way to play these sorts of pocket pairs on the first round of betting is to bet or reraise. This will get some of your opponents out of the pot, and increase your chances of winning. Also, if your trips do come, then you will have a larger pot to win. If you do not bet, and try to slow play these types of pocket pairs your chances of winning are not good. Unless the pocket pair is 10’s or higher, they most likely will not stand up against the other hands that can be made if you allow players to stay in. That is why you must bet, and get as many draws and fishers out of the hand by betting.
Playing pocket pairs in seven card stud can be very enjoyable and exciting, however, if you do not do it right you can risk losing a lot of money. Hopefully these tactics and strategies have informed you of the correct way of playing this situation. If you wish to learn more about playing pocket pairs check out our article on playing pocket pairs for holdem. Although the article is on texas holdem, it can still better your understanding for playing pocket pairs. If there are any remaining questions on this topic, feel free to contact us or discuss it in the forums. Either way, your needs with be answered.