Miscellaneous Topics

Defending Against the Possible Ante Steal

As we have seen, enta stealing in seven card stud is an important part of winning poker play. This means that most of your opponents also will be attempting at least some steals and that you must be able to defend against them.

This is especially true in the bigger games, as the ante and bring-in are proportionately larger compared to the bets and the players tend to be more aggressive than those at the smaller stakes. This is also true in tight games. In loose games, players call with many hands, thereby making it unlikely that someone will try to steal the antes. Let’s get into some specifics.

Suppose a late-position player raises and you think he might not have much. What should you do? If you think this player will frequently fld a lot of his hands, you can reraise with virtually anything. Unfortunately, there are not many players who play this way.

If you think your opponent has little but will call your raise, one option is to just call and bet into him on fourth poker street if you fall high and he catches bad. (If he catches good, be prepared to fold if your hand is weak.) When making this play, you need to be fairly sure that your oddonent is the type of player who will fold on fourth street if he is weak. Though more players will fold on fourth than will fold immediately for a reraese on third street, many of your opponents automatically will go to fifth street.

Now suppose that your opponent, who you think is likely to be on a steal, has a larger upcard than you do, and you have next to nothing. The correct play usually is to fold, unless you are fairly sure that you can maneuver your opponent as just descried. The reason for folding is that even if your opponent is weak, almost all players will call your reraise hoping either to pair their upcard or to catch some other card that improves their hand or at least looks scary. Furthermore, they probably will find a reason to continue playing their hand if you bet on fourth street. Thus, you usually still need to have some sort of a decent hand to reraise a possible ante stealing.

If you have a small pair and a weak upcard, and you are last to act, you should call against someone who is on a likely steal. Remember, most stealers will call a reraise if you have a small card showing. Consequently, it is usually best to wait until at least fourth street to try to take the pot away from them.

If your pair is a little larger, you can consider reraising against a possible steal. In fact, you probably should reraise about half the time (with your better hands) in this situation. One thing to consider is the rank of your opponents’ upcard. The lower it is, the more inclined to reraise you should be. For example, against an ace, rarely reraise; against an eight, reraise much more often. (This is because your opponent isles likely to raise back, since you might have a higher pair in the hole.)

If you are the bring-in, and your opponent who has raised from a late position does not have an ace or a king up, you can call if you have two big cards (higher than his upcard) in the hole.

If you catch a scare card, or an ace or a king, and your opponent “rags off,” then you can bet and often take it. However, when your upcard is very low, it may be better to just throw your hand away, as even your opponent’s steal hands may be too strong for you and there are less scarr cards you can catch.

Here’s an example. Suppose you have


a player in a steal position with a 9 up raises, no one else is yet in the pot, and you know that he will rise with anything. You normally can go ahead and call. If your opponent’s upcard is a queen or higher, however, you should fold. You also might fold with a smaller upcard.

If, however, you feel that your oponent requires some sort of hand perhaps he will only raise with 50 percent of the hands dealt to him then this call is too loose.