A seven-card stud secret from my old note


Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was originally published (1993) in Card Player magazine under the title: “Back to my old notes… You can’t get enough, so here’s another one!”


Gosh! When I first started writing these columns about old poker notes, I thought I was just doing myself a favor. I figured we could share vintage thoughts I’d previously put on paper or, perhaps, entered into some long-forgotten computer file.

I reasoned that this would make my life easy because, first, I had to sort through this stuff sometime and, second, it’s easy to write about old notes. Happily, I’ve gotten much positive feedback, so here we go again. This is today’s first and only note . . .

Two ways to win. Note begins. If you’re playing seven-card stud and there are more rounds of betting to come, you can improve to a winning hand or you can win simply by catching cards so scary that your pitiful opponent will mistakenly fold. Note ends.

That seems like a trivial truth, but it isn’t. It’s the biggest reason why, in seven-card stud, you can often improve your prospects by betting a weak hand, even though you figure your opponent has a slightly better one.

You’ll see this happen, again and again in seven-card stud: Two weak hands face each other; one player bets; the other calls reluctantly; the bettor catches a scary card; the caller doesn’t. Now what? I’ll tell you now what! Now the previous bettor is going to bet again and usually, take the pot. That’s good, because even if that card did help (perhaps providing a small exposed pair), the bettor will make more potential profit if he wins the pot right now with his slightly favored hand than if he brings the battle to the showdown. And if the scare card didn’t help—if it only added one more member of an already-exposed suit when he wasn’t trying for a flush, or if it was a king and he didn’t have another one in the hole—then he’s going to take the entire pot from an opponent who possibly has him beat.

The seven-card stud secret. There’s a secret to betting liberally in seven-card stud. The secret isn’t to just bet the second-best hand. And it isn’t to bet the weaker of two medium-strong hands. And it certainly isn’t to bet the weaker of two very-strong hands. No, my friends, the secret is to bet the weaker of two weak hands.

If you can accurately gauge when an opponent is weak, bet when you’re also weak, but check and hope the opponent tries to steal the pot when your strong, then you’ll have mastered a great secret of seven stud.

Repeating: The profit comes from assessing accurately your opponent is weak, then betting if your hand is also weak, but checking if your hand is strong. — MC

Published by

Mike Caro

Visit Mike on   → Twitter   ♠ OR ♠    → FaceBook

Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Let's make sure it's really you and not a bot. Please type digits (without spaces) that best match what you see. (Example: 71353)