STARTING HANDS

There have been four main groups of starting hands in seven-card stud poker:  Three of a kind, also known as rolled-up trips; big pairs; small and medium pairs; and the drawing  hands. There have also been some other hands that you sometimes would have to play, but a discussion of them would be beyond the scope of this book.

However, the starting quiz that follows this segment will offer a few tips on how to play some of these extra poker hands.

Category No. 1: Three of a kind.

This would be the best starting hand in seven-card stud poker, but you wouldn’t get it veryfrequently in fact, on the average of only once in every four hundred twenty-five times you wouldbe dealt in. Because rolled-up trips would be so strong, it usually wouldn’t matter how you were to play them. Still, you wouldn’t want to be dealt three queens and win only the antes. So if you were to be in an early position and were to think raising would drive out the other poker players, you would have to just call.  On the other hand, if numerous players were already in the pot before the action were to get to you, your raise would be doubtful to make them fold.

But bear in mind, although three of a kind would be a powerful poker hand, it is not unbeatable and sometimes would get beat.

Category No. 2: Big pairs.

The big pairs would almost always be playable and would have to be played aggressively. The exception would be if you were likely to be up against someone who was holding a larger pair.  In this case, you would have to reflect on throwing your play poker hand away, unless your kicker the side card to your pair would be higher than your rival’s probable pair. If you were to play a big pair, you would normally go all the way to the river. Yet, if your rival were to pair his third-street card (known as the door card) or were to make something else intimidating such as a four flush on board you would have to fold.

Category No. 3: Small and medium pairs.

Deciding whether to play a small or medium pair could be quite difficult. The two most important factors would be the accessibility of the cards you would need that is,  whether your hand was live and the size of your kicker. As already noted, a high card could add value to your poker hand. However, playing a pair of fours when you could see a four across the table would usually be a mistake even if your kicker would be an ace.

Category No.4: The drawing hands.

Omaha poker hands such as three flushes and three straights would often be playable. Again, the cards you would need should be accessible, and having a high card would be useful in concluding whether to play heads up. Unlike the pairs, drawing hands would have no current value; you would play them because they would have the promise to become very strong.

STARTING HAND QUIZ

1.You had been dealt two aces, one in the hole and one up. What would you have done? Raised or re-raised when the action got to you. A pair of aces would have been played best in a short-handed pot, so you should have raised it up.

2.You had been dealt a three flush, but four of the flush cards you needed were out and someone had already raised. What would you have done? Disposed off your hand, as it would have been just too hard to make your flush.

3.What if the pot hadn’t been raised? For the same reason, you still should have thrown your three flush away.

4.You had only three high cards, but the first five players had folded their hand.What should you have done? You should have gone ahead and raised.

5.What if several players had already entered the pot? Thrown your hand away. High cards would have played best against a small number of rivals.

6.Someone in an early position had raised with a king up, and you had a pair of nines. Should you have played? Not frequently, as your rival’s raise from early position would have imply that he had likely held a pair of kings. As a result, to play under these conditions, you would have needed more than just a pair of nines.

 7.You had a small three straight with a gap.You were in a late position, and several players had just called the bring-in. Should you have played?Generally. If you could have got in cheaply and were fairly positive you wouldn’t be raised, you could have played some weaker hands. Then again, you should have been careful. If you had got caught up in the action, you would have started playing too many hands.

8.You had rolled-up sixes, and three players had already entered the pot. What should you have done? Raised it up. You had a great hand, so you should have got more money into the pot.

9.Several players were already in, and you had a three flush. Should you have raised? No, as you would still have had a long way to go. You should have raised only if you had three cards to a straight flush.

10.Suppose you had a small buried pair and the pot had been raised. Should you have played? Only if there were several players in the pot and your cards had been live.

11.If you had a close decision concerning whether to play a hand, what should you have considered? How well those opponents already in the pot had played. The better they had played, the less inclined you should have been to play.

12.How would you have altered the hands you should have played if a jackpot had been offered? If the jackpot had been small, you should not have how played any differently than you usually would have. But when the jackpot had become large, it would have made sense to play hands that were to consistof a small pair or an ace if aces full or better had been the requisite losing hand.  If four of a kind had been the requisite losing hand, you should have played your small pairs. But you shouldn’t have got carried away. A hand like would still have been terrible and should have been disposed.