Early Stage Tournament
In seven-card stud tournament, most of the players play more conservatively than they do in normal games. They patiently wait for a good starting hand and play cautiously on each street. Although this is not always true, you can easily identify rivals who are not following this policy because they call the raise more often than their hands seem to justify.
If many rivals are playing correctly, you can play somewhat more loosely and try to steal a few more antes. You will want to play a very solid poker game, although a bit looser than your tighter rivals. However, if your oppositions are playing looser than ordinary, you should play a little tighter than they do. The best strategy is to be solid aggressive.
The earlier the player raises, the more credit you should give him for having a good hand. Most of the time when a player raises with a pair that pair will be the same as his doorcard. But when an early-position player raises with a small card (like as 5) showing, be careful because he has a big hidden pair (jacks or higher).
Suppose a player raises from an early position and you are having a three-flush. For your calling, you need to have a rather large flush draw with no more than one or two of your suit showing on the board and it would be even better to have one or two cards higher than the raiser's doorcard. Thus, if you are sure that you will be playing against a big pair, you should be drawing to hands that are both live and have one or two overcards.
Be careful of playing small three-flushes in raised pots. If you can play for the minimum bet and your hand is live, you can see fourth-street. When you are in a late position with a flush draw and hold higher cards than the forced bring-in bet, you may raise here. But you should only do this when five people have passed and only one other player is left to act – and his upcard should be lower than yours because then he is likely to re-raise.
If you play your flush draw past third-street in these early stages, pay attention on how many of your suit cards are exposed. If you improve by catching another suited card on fourth-street, you have close to an even-money chance of completing your flush (based on how many of your suit cards are out). So it is correct to continue playing the hand because the pot will be paying a good enough price.
You don't necessarily have a through ticket to the river with a four-flush. It is possible that other player may also be catching suited cards higher than yours and someone may pair his doorcard both of which are danger to your flush draw. Many times, a player who pairs his doorcard has made trips if he started with a pair. Few things are much more dangerous than completing your flush only to be beaten by a full house.
Let's say you have four cards to a flush on fourth-street and your rival bets into you. You should raise, especially if two more players sitting in front of you have called the initial bettor. Good players will read you for a flush draw but that's fine because you still have a 45-50 percent chance of making your hand, depending on how many of your suit are showing.
The purpose of raising with the four-flush is to get a free card on fifth-street when the bets double and your rivals check to you, which is what you expect they will do. If you improve to a pair that seems to be higher than your rivals, you can value instead of taking the free card because you have both a flush draw and a pair working.
This works better if your rival has a king or queen showing on fourth-street because unless you pair up or spike an ace, he remain the first to act with his high board. You should consider this factor before you decide whether to raise on fourth-street. If your rival is a very aggressive player and is likely to re-raise, you are not going to get the free fifth-street card your raise was intended to receive. In this case, you should better off call. The bottom line is that you must have a good read on your rival to determine whether a fourth-street raise will benefit you or not.
The second time that you won't want to raise is when two or more players are left to act behind you because your raise may force them to fold. Here you can better off call because you want to have as many people in the pot as possible when you are drawing to a flush to improve your pot odds and so that you can make as much money as possible if you make your flush.
Raising when your rivals are sitting between you and the first bettor is a different thing because they have already committed one bet to the pot. If the first bettor decides to re-raise and they all fold, you have their dead money in the pot with the same chance of making your hand. Thus you are not in a critical position in whatever you do. Moreover, if you do make your hand, there will be enough perplexity in your rivals' minds for them to pay you off.
Create confusion : The valuable poker skill which one can give is to create confusion among your rivals. When your rivals are not able to put you on a proper hand, they often will call you with any kind of reasonable hand. So if you are able to conceal the strength of your hand, you will get many calls just because your rivals are confused about what you are possibly holding.
When you raise with two suited cards showing against wise rivals, they will put you on a probable four-flush, especially when their doorcards are higher than either of your two upcards. But even though your raise may bust them off to your flush draw they still may be forced to continue playing with a decent hand because they are not sure exactly what you have. This small confusion on their part can add extra bets to your win when you make your hand.
In seven-card stud, straight draws are the most overvalued starting hands. More problems are created with this hand than they are being worth. In the tournament, when you are playing in a multi-way pot against four or five people, you can assume that two or three of them are drawing to a flush. Straight draws are not superior to the flush draws.
Thus, if any rivals show any improvement on fourth-street with either a suited card or a suited connector you should carefully play your straight draw – and it cannot be played at all against a raiser who holds a doorcard higher than any of your three straight cards.
We suggest you to fold your straight draws as early as possible unless your cards are live. If you decide to draw to your straight, better be careful of your rival who raises with his high pair. In that case you should fold. You can relax yourself if all three of your straight cards are higher than his doorcard.
For example, in an un-raised pot you enter with three to a straight or you have cards higher than the raiser's doorcard in a raised pot. You have improved your hand on fourth-street either pairing, or by catching a fourth card to a straight (suppose you have K-J-10 you catch an ace and don't see any Qs on the board). In such situation, you can continue playing until fifth-street. If you spot one or two Qs showing on fifth-street and a rival bets into you, you should pass unless you have a pair. Also if your pair, you think, is not the best pair, you still have enough outs (maybe with an inside straight draw) to continue playing the hand. But you want all your cards to be live if you continue playing with a marginal pair. Try to play the hand as cheaply as possible. If you can get a free card, take that best opportunity. And now if you think your pair is the best on fifth-street, value bet based on its strength.
A hand like A-K-Q can also be played sometimes even for a raise or a re-raise, unless the re-raise comes from an ace or king showing. In that case, you must just pass. Suppose a 8 has brought in the pot for a raise and a queen has re-raised. You are having A-K-Q and suspect the re-raised may have queens. If there are no aces, kings, jacks or tens showing on the board, you are justified in taking off a card with your two overcards. With three overcards to the raiser's doorcard and if he actually has the hand he is representing, you still have a very close hand. However if the raise or re-raise comes from a player who is having an ace or a king and you are very sure he has either aces or kings, you should fold even if no jacks or tens are showing.
On fourth-street when you make a pair but see no improvement to your rival's hand, you can continue value betting, even if you are fairly sure your rival has overcards. If you think you have the best pair even though your rival has overcards, you can continue value betting until you have reason to believe you are beaten.
If you started with three overcards and your hand is live, you can justify taking off a card on fourth-street if you don't seem to be in danger of being raised by a rival behind you. But if you are in danger of being raised, you can't call that first bet on fourth-street and will have to pass. If you are heads-up and haven't improved by fifth-street, you will have to throw away your hand if your rival continues betting.
On fourth-street, if you have four to a straight your chances of making your hand are not quite as good as they would be if you had a four-flush. But with decent hand, overcards and enough money in the pot, you have rational reason to play your hand to the river unless you think someone has either potential to fill up, or has made a flush.
In multi-way pots, always be careful when you are playing straight draws against flush draws. However, in tournaments, you have only one or two active rivals in most pots, so you are generally getting enough incentive from the pot odds and your live hand to continue playing to the river.
In seven-card stud, you should look for the best starting hand which is the highest pair or the best drawing hand, which is either three big straight cards or a three-flush with overcards to the raiser's doorcard. You want either the best starting hand or the best drawing hands.
Playing too many drawing hands in tournament is generally a mistake. The same is true for the drawing hands one of which is the possession of overcards so that, if you don't improve to the flush possibility which you started with, at least you have a chance of making the best hand with a big pair than your rivals.
Continue Here : Early stage playing pairs