Drawing Hand Strategy – Seven Card Stud

The way you play drawing hands is dependant on two variables. Both your door card and table position are important in drawing instances. We will go into flush draws first and then straight draws.

With drawing hands (flushes and straights) the more players in the hand the better. If your hand hits you need it to pay off with a large pot. Re-Raising with draws would reduce player size thus reducing pot size and only in rare instances is it recommended.

Flush Draws – Seven Card Stud

Valuing Flush Draws

Flush draws with big hole cards are considered much more valuable. An example would be if you held the King of hearts and Queen of heats with a 4 of hearts showing. These types of flush draws are very playable even with multiple raises.

On the other hand flush draws with meager hole cards should be thrown away if the price gets too high. When you have this type of flush draw and most players have folded then you should too. The odds of not catching far outweigh your pot odds.

When to Raise with Flush Draws

A good time to raise with flush draws is after the first three cards are dealt and your up-card is premium card (A,K,Q,J,10). For example your up-card is a king and it’s the highest showing on the board. A bet will likely win the antes. You are also unlikely to see a re-raise behind you.

Another situation when a bet is appropriate is if your up-card contains a straight possibility. If the up-card is also a premium card then the hand went up in value even more.

Please note that we’re not trying to entice re-raises with our draws. We strictly want more players in the hand, a sizeable pot, all without us having to risk too much money. We don’t want multiple re-raises behind our raise.

Special Note with Flush Draws

A great way to narrow down your odds of catching flush draws is to look around the table. If your suits are showing your odds go way down hill. Amateurs overlook this simple theory all the time.

Flush Draws on Fourth Street

Ok so we’ve made it to Fourth Street with our flush draws. Hopefully by this time we’ve picked up 4 to the flush.

If not we at least want to have made a premium pair with one of our starting cards. Neither of these has occurred? Well if that happens it’s time to bail. The only time you would stick around with 3 to the flush and no premium pair is when you’ve called multiple raises on 3rd street.  Even then you only want to continue if you don’t suspect multiple raises on Fifth Street.

When you make a premium pair your strategy reverts back to the previous section on, “Playing Premium Pairs in Seven Card Stud“.

If the ultimate goal of making four to the flush occurs here is what happens. Most people over play their 4-to-the-flush draw. Keep in mind your hand is still a small underdog to win.

Four to the Flush Strategy

When you make four to the flush and you have a small amount invested into the pot go ahead and bet. Betting or raising is also preferable if you think your opponent knows what you hold. At that point you’re probably not going to trick him so you proceed with un-deceptive behavior, betting.

On the other hand, let’s say you just called in early position making it look like you had a small pair. This is where some deceptive play comes into action. Assume he bets and you’re in late position to act. Just calling will bring a lot of deception to the table because most players think others who hold four to the flush will raise. The deception brings added value and remember, your flush draw still isn’t favored to win the hand with only a 47% of a win.

Straight Draws – Seven Card Stud

Straight draws don’t have as much leeway as flush draws. Here we will discuss strategy and how to play straight draws in seven card stud.

Similar to flush draws, and 3-to-the-straight, draws are better if you hold higher value cards. We want straights that start out with Ace, King, Queen and not 5, 6, 7. The ability to hit a premium pair is why the previous example holds true.

Feel free to call double raises with the premium card straight draws. Always fold your straight draws when your cards have low value (5,6,7) and there were multiple raises before you.

Gut Shot Straight Draws

A gut shot draw is when you have something like 10, 9, and 7. The only time you should play this type of draw is when your 10 is higher than everyone else’s on the board. We’re not implying that 10 high is the best hand but it would be unlikely that you get raised at that time.

Checking other player’s up-cards is very important when drawing to gut shot straight draws. If you see 1 of your cards is dead on the table your chances of making that gut shot straight decreased dramatically. Remember with a gut shot you only have 4 outs.

Straight Draw Strategy

Calling with open ended straight draws is the best play. The odds of making a straight from a four-straight-draw are 42%. Such as with the flush draw the more players in the better. When you do make your hand it’s time to raise.

The Whipsaw

The “Whipsaw” is when you have a 3 card flush and a 3 card straight draw on Fourth Street. The size of your cards is most important on deciding whether to play in the whipsaw situation. As always with draws, try to keep as many players in the pot as possible. Even on Fifth Street when the aggressor bets into you when you hold four-to-the-flush you want to just call. But there are some instances when you should raise.

Any time you are getting 3 to 1 on your money and are less than 2 to 1 to win the hand you should raise.

Seven Card Stud Conclusion

Those are the basics of seven card stud drawing hand strategy.  We also have more sections on Seven Card Stud.


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