Sunday, May 08, 2005

Starting 7-Card Stud

Yesterday I went down to Foxwoods to meet a friend. While there, I played four hours of 75-150 Seven-Card Stud, and won $141. I had played in this game before a couple of times. Although I still need to put in many hours of Seven Card Stud to know for sure, I am optimistic that I can already beat this game. Each of the times I played (once in a mid-afternoon mid-week session, another time during Foxwoods' October 2004 tournament period), the game seemed soft with several loose players. So I'm going to count this as the beginning of my new Seven Card Stud journey. I'm hoping the three hour round trip drive from my house to the casino and back won't stop me from going there at least twice a week over the summer. It may be useful to get a mid-week room every now and then - so I can put in more time at the tables, and be refreshed for my drive back home.

A basic difference between Hold'em and Stud is that the format for Hold'em is constant throughout the limits (mostly), while the format for Stud changes. The changing format in Stud means the correct strategy will be different depending on the limit. Specifically, in Hold'em, the blinds / bet size ratio stays the same. If the limit is 10/20, then the blinds are 5 and 10, while the bet sizes are 10, 10, 20 & 20 (pre-Flop, Flop, Turn and River). While in Stud, if the limit is 10/20, then the antes are $1, the low-card is forced to bring it in for $3 and the betting is $10 for the first two rounds and $20 for the last three rounds. But in 75/150, the antes are $15 and the bring-in is $25. So the ante has increased from 10% to 20%, while the bring-in has increased from 30% to 33%. This means its correct to play looser in 75/150 than it is in 10/20, as the pot is relatively bigger (in terms of bets) right from the start. With 8 players, in 10/20, there is 0.65 big bets in the pot after the bring-in. In 75/150, there is 0.97 big bets. In Stud, its important to adjust based on the structure of the limit. What that means is if I strictly play 75/150, I have to be careful if/when I write a book, that I either make it clear the book is geared for that limit or I make adjustments for strategy in the book to cover different limits. That will make it tough. How well do other Stud books make these adjustments? We'll find out over the next couple of months as I'll read as many of them as possible.

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