Premium Pair Seven Card Stud Strategy

Here is the real meat of Seven Card Stud strategy, “How to play premium pairs.” Strategy on how to play drawing hands and how to play small pairs in Seven Card Stud will be discussed during the next two sections.

Premium Pair Betting Strategy

Premium pairs are called so for a reason. They are rare and they’re money makers. The occurrences of these pairs only happen 6-8% of the time during play. Play your premium pairs and play them hard. Smaller premiums can be played a little slower so as to not get trapped. Premium pairs are played much different than drawing Seven card stud hands

“Reducing the field by raising and re-raising with premium pairs is one of the most important concepts in Seven Card Stud.”

Raising with Aces – 10’s will eliminate junk callers and give you an idea of what your opponents hold. Here is a good rule that Chip Reese teaches in the “Doyle Brunson’s Super System” which I went by when first starting Seven Card Stud.

“In Seven Card Stud raise with a premium pair when only one or no other higher face cards are showing behind you. When there are two or more higher face cards behind you just call.”

So what should you do on 3rd, 4th and 5th street? Continue raising if you feel your premium pair is the strongest. Eliminate as many potential players as possible. Don’t ever let players draw for cheap when your premium pair is strongest at the time. Trying to beef up the pot will only put a damper on your bankroll.

Don’t Give Free Cards

We don’t ever want to give someone a free card especially on Fifth street. Try and get rid of the riff raff by betting out. Always get as many players off their hands as possible on Fifth street.

One more way to reduce the field size is to raise even when you don’t have the best hand at the time. Before you leave this strategy section thinking I have no clue please hear me out.

If you have a strong pair and think your opponent has two pair that’s fine. Say you hold a strong premium pair. There is a good chance you will bust his two pair with a higher two pair but think about this. The more players in the less likely your two pair will hold up. A re-raise will get the dinky draws out isolating yourself and the other two pair which you will probably beat. This play is much more advanced and should be attempted when you are confident with Seven Card Stud.

Check Raising Premium Pairs

Like we said earlier if you feel your pair is best you want to reduce opponents. Check raising can sometimes do this more efficiently than an original bet.

Let’s assume you have a concealed big pair. The player to act after you could possibly be on a flush draw while the third player looks like he also has a premium pair but yours is bigger.

If you check your pair the second player (who is on a flush draw) will also check. The third player will more than likely bet thinking his pair is best. Your play would then be to re-raise forcing the flush draw to fold because now he has to call a raise and a reraise.

On the other hand, betting out first would have kept both players in with the same amount of money going into the pot. Instead the check raise eliminated one player reducing your chance of getting out drawn but kept the pot size healthy.

When Premium Pairs are Beat

The following scenarios are when every player has their first 3 cards. Sometimes your big pairs are just flat out beat and better judgement would be to fold.

Bigger Premium Pairs

Let’s say you have pocket Jacks and two of your opponents are showing an Ace and a Queen. When the Ace raises and then the queen re-raises your premium pair is not looking as good and most likely should be put into the muck pile.

Four to the Draw

Another case where you can fold premium pairs is if your opponent is showing four to the flush or straight. It would be highly probably that the premium pair you hold is out matched with the flush or straight lurking.

Showing Pairs Early

When your opponent pairs their cards right off the bat, premium pairs become less powerful. Pairing their showing card presents them with a greater possibility of having two pair or possibly trips.

Rolled up Trips

Unlike premium pairs you want more players in the pot with rolled up trips. Rolled up trips are 2 hidden cards that pair with a third showing (trip). An example would be two 7’s which only you can see and one other 7 showing.

An ideal situation with rolled up trips is to be involved in a pot with your opponent having a premium pair. They will be betting strongly the entire way while your hand poses a good chance of holding with no improvement needed.

Seven Card Stud Premium Pair Summary

So as you can see strategy for premium pairs in seven card stud is common sense. Bet your big starting pairs very hard. Force out as many drawing hands as possible and pick up some lucrative pots along the way.


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