Targeted poker quiz 01: 7-stud (beginner)


Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. This 39-part series of quizzes, originally published (2004-2006) in Poker Player, is based on the Mike Caro University of Poker library of research and advice. In each entry, Mike Caro presents 10 questions covering a category of poker, targeted for beginner, intermediate, or advanced players. Answers with explanations appear below each quiz, with the questions repeated for easy reference.


The MCU Targeted Poker Quiz series

(See the index to this series)

Strategy – Seven-card stud (level: beginner)

  1. Usually, if you begin with a pair, you’d rather it be

    (a) completely facedown and hidden, so opponents don’t see one card of your rank exposed in your hand;

    (b) a middle-ranking pair, neither too high nor too low;

    (c) matched with an extra card lower in rank than the pair, for deceptive reasons;

    (d) all of the above.

  2. Often you should simply fold starting cards whose ranks aren’t in sequence. If you do begin with no pair and three cards that aren’t in sequence, it’s better if they

    (a) rank as high as possible;

    (b) have all the same suit;

    (c) aren’t the same ranks you see exposed as the up-cards in opponent’s hands;

    (d) all of the above.

  3. The best opportunity to fold in seven-card stud is on the first betting round.

    (a) True;

    (b) False.

  4. After all the cards are dealt, if an opponent’s four exposed cards are Q-8-4-3 of four different suits, which hand is impossible for him to hold?

    (a) A full house;

    (b) four of a kind;

    (c) a flush;

    (d) a straight.

  5. If you look at all of your opponents’ face-up cards and don’t see any that you’d like to have, that should make you…

    (a) happy;

    (b) realize that the odds are unfavorable this hand;

    (c) call any bets, no matter what;

    (d) suspicious.

  6. A high kicker makes a small pair more powerful because

    (a) someone almost always has that same pair with a lower kicker;

    (b) if you hit that high kicker, making two pair, you’ll often beat two smaller pair;

    (c) opponents usually think you’re bluffing;

    (d) all of the above.

  7. When you start with cards in sequence, like 8-7-6, you will usually

    (a) make a straight by the showdown;

    (b) sometimes make a straight, but usually make at least two pair;

    (c) usually need to make a pair or catch a 5 or a 9 on the next card to call a bet;

    (d) lose more than three-fourths of the time, even if you get lucky enough to make a straight.

  8. In lower limit seven-card stud games, where opponents play many hands…

    (a) you should seldom bluff;

    (b) you should raise more often with medium-strong hands;

    (c) you should play more conservatively than you usually would;

    (d) you should never start without a pair.

  9. If you start with three cards of the same suit, you’ll usually make a flush by the river.

    (a) True;

    (b) False.

  10. The more players are in the pot…

    (a) the more likely it is that there will be a straight or better at the showdown;

    (b) the harder it will be for you to win with just one big pair;

    (c) the more likely it is that you will get a straight beat if you make it;

    (d) all of the above


Answers and explanations (with questions repeated for convenience)

Strategy – Seven-card stud (level: beginner)

  1. Usually, if you begin with a pair, you’d rather it be

    (a) completely facedown and hidden, so opponents don’t see one card of your rank exposed in your hand;

    (b) a middle-ranking pair, neither too high nor too low;

    (c) matched with an extra card lower in rank than the pair, for deceptive reasons;

    (d) all of the above.

    Answer: (a). It’s usually better if your pair is hidden. Then if you connect for three-of-a-kind, opponents have no clue that you hold them. If your pair is “split” — one face down and one showing — opponents will be suspicious if you catch a third one. That’s because they see a pair, and they know you’re likely to have started with another card of that same rank in the hole. That makes it harder to win extra bets.

  2. Often you should simply fold starting cards whose ranks aren’t in sequence. If you do begin with no pair and three cards that aren’t in sequence, it’s better if they

    (a) rank as high as possible;

    (b) have all the same suit;

    (c) aren’t the same ranks you see exposed as the up-cards in opponent’s hands;

    (d) all of the above.

    Answer: (d). Don’t forget how much (c) contributes, because when you don’t see the ranks you need exposed in opposing hands, they’re likely to still be in the deck, available for you to catch and make pairs with.

  3. The best opportunity to fold in seven-card stud is on the first betting round.

    (a) True;

    (b) False.

    Answer: (a) As the pot grows, there’s more incentive to call. Usually, be more willing to fold early.

  4. After all the cards are dealt, if an opponent’s four exposed cards are Q-8-4-3 of four different suits, which hand is impossible for him to hold?

    (a) A full house;

    (b) four of a kind;

    (c) a flush;

    (d) a straight.

    Answer: (c). Examples… Your opponent could hold a full house with 8-8-3; your opponent could hold four of a kind with 3-3-3; your opponent could hold a straight with 7-6-5. But your opponent could not hold a flush, because even if all three hidden cards were the same suit, there’s only one more of that suit out there, which will fall one short of the five suited cards required.

  5. If you look at all of your opponents’ face-up cards and don’t see any that you’d like to have, that should make you…

    (a) happy;

    (b) realize that the odds are unfavorable this hand;

    (c) call any bets, no matter what;

    (d) suspicious.

    Answer: (a). When opponents don’t have the cards you need, they’re more likely to remain available in the deck.

  6. A high kicker makes a small pair more powerful because

    (a) someone almost always has that same pair with a lower kicker;

    (b) if you hit that high kicker, making two pair, you’ll often beat two smaller pair;

    (c) opponents usually think you’re bluffing;

    (d) all of the above.

    Answer: (b). Newcomers to seven-card stud seldom realize the high value of winning the majority of two-pair versus two-pair confrontations. The higher your kicker, the more likely you are to win those confrontations.

  7. When you start with cards in sequence, like 8-7-6, you will usually

    (a) make a straight by the showdown;

    (b) sometimes make a straight, but usually make at least two pair;

    (c) usually need to make a pair or catch a 5 or a 9 on the next card to call a bet;

    (d) lose more than three-fourths of the time, even if you get lucky enough to make a straight.

    Answer: (c). If you don’t help the hand, you should be prepared to fold routinely on the next round of betting.

  8. In lower limit seven-card stud games, where opponents play many hands…

    (a) you should seldom bluff;

    (b) you should raise more often with medium-strong hands;

    (c) you should play more conservatively than you usually would;

    (d) you should never start without a pair.

    Answer: (a). You simply can’t make profit in the long run by trying to bluff players who call too often. And players who play too many hands usually call too often on all rounds of betting.

  9. If you start with three cards of the same suit, you’ll usually make a flush by the river.

    (a) True;

    (b) False.

    Answer: (b). With any speculative starting hand, such as three suited cards, you’re usually going to miss. You’re gambling that on the times you do connect, you’ll make enough extra profit to outweigh those misses. And, of course, you’ll sometimes improve to make other winning hands besides a flush.

  10. The more players are in the pot…

    (a) the more likely it is that there will be a straight or better at the showdown;

    (b) the harder it will be for you to win with just one big pair;

    (c) the more likely it is that you will get a straight beat if you make it;

    (d) all of the above.

    Answer: (d). There’s lots of danger whenever you face many opponents, in seven-card stud or any other form of poker. Get used to the fact that you’re going to be frustrated more frequently against large numbers of active opponents. But, if you play correctly, you’ll profit, because the pots you do win will be larger.


Next MCU Targeted Poker Quiz in this series

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Mike Caro

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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.

3 thoughts on “Targeted poker quiz 01: 7-stud (beginner)”

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  1. Hi Mike,

    Thanks so much for explaining this further. I get it now. (My error is that so far, I mostly play low stakes tournaments and rarely play ring games. I forget to take the rake into consideration for ring games.) Answer “a” was the most obvious correct answer, but in low-stakes tournament play, I do find b and c work for me as well. But, yes, in cash games, I do see what you’re saying. Thanks again!

    Sheryl

  2. Hi Mike. I had a difficult time with question number 8. In my experience, all three answers seem to be correct. (I also missed question 10 — I chose “b” but I understand the correct answer now.)
    Thanks!
    Sheryl

    1. Hi, Sheryl —

      I’m glad you posted this comment, because in examining the answer, I noticed that only three of the four answer choices were copied from the question section. I fixed that by adding (d) — which was a wrong answer.

      The right answer is (a), because lower-limit players call way too often, making bluffs unprofitable in most situations.

      The answer (b) comes closest to being acceptable (but not nearly so much as (a)). It’s wrong, though, because you usually shouldn’t raise with marginal hands against weak players when you might be chasing away other callers. Weak opponents make the mistake of calling far too often for a single bet, but abandoning long-shot hands if you raise. You chase away weak hands that supply profit and leave yourself only against callers with better chances.

      Additionally, the lower-limits are almost all rake games, and with marginal advantages, that rake eats away your small profit when you’re against just one or two opponents. The more opponents, the more the rake is divided and the less cost to you. You should usually try to play most hands with marginal profit expectation against many opponents, and raising often limits this possibility.

      Answer (c) is wrong, because if opponents play more hands than they should, this gives you an opportunity to profit by entering with some marginally weaker hands that you would have otherwise folded. You just need to make sure you’re playing more selectively than your opponents. What happens is that you’re now able to stretch your standards for playable hands and still make a profit, because the average hands of your opponents are weaker than normal. Of course, here too, you need to consider the effect of the rake, so you can’t play quite as many hands as you’d like — more than usual, but not overwhelmingly more.

      And (d) is wrong, because it would be silly to only play pairs.

      Hope this helps.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

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