3rd Street in Stud

written by: James Comments: View Comments

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When players are looking to play a new game, any new game, it is always in their best interest to start in the beginning.

In a game like 7-card Stud or 7-card Stud Hi/Lo, the beginning of the game starts on 3rd street when a player is first dealt 2 cards faced down and their 'door' card face up. Each player will then choose to play their hand or not based on several factors.

While this may sound extremely easy, many players make it difficult on themselves by not having an understanding of what constitutes a good starting hand or why and how to go about entering the pot with it. This can be extremely troublesome since Stud is such a huge drawing game resulting in many players playing too many hands and then wondering why they are not showing any kind of profit.

So to help those of you that would like to learn how to play Stud profitably, we have started at the beginning explaining what hands players should focus on playing as well as explained how door cards can affect this in Stud and Stud Hi/Lo.   

3rd Street Starting Hands

Stud Hi Starting Hands

When choosing what cards to play in 7-card Stud Hi, players will want to be sure to start with 3 cards that give them the most outs or the most opportunities to win the pot. While this may seem like a no-brainer, many players still play hands such as A-9-6 and somehow figure they'll catch a pair or some miracle straight. It can happen, but these players pay a lot with these hands to chase and in most cases, the money they spend outweighs any rewards they gain when they rarely hit.

An example of some solid starting hands to play would include hands that can be turned into straights such as A-K-Q, 10-J-9 or K-Q-J. From a personal standpoint, starting with a hand such as K-Q-J for a straight draw would be the best because you have an up and down back door straight draw with 12 potential outs (A,10,9) going into 4th street as opposed to A-K-Q where you only have 8 (J,10). Straight cards are even further enhanced if they also happen to be suited as well.

Aside from straight draws, 3 cards to a flush are great to play. Although any suited cards may be arguably playable, it would be preferred and suggested that players have at least one face card such as an ace, king or queen that is suited. This is to prevent the possibility of being beaten by a higher flush.

Additionally, pairs can be played as long as it is high in value such as 10's thru A's and as long as the kickers are high in value as well. The goal with this kind of hand is to eventually turn two-pair, trips or even a boat.

Lastly, the best hands to start with are 'rolled up' trips. Any of these are worth playing whether it is trip 2's or trip A's. What players are hoping for is to fill up to a boat by 7th street to ensure their hand isn't outdrawn by any straight or flush draws.

Stud Hi/Lo Starting Hands

When playing solely for the low half of the pot, players should start with 3 cards that are unpaired and are all 8 or below with 'wheel' cards such as A-2-3, A-2-4, A-2-5 being preferred. It should also be noted that all three low cards should be either connected or suited, preferably both. This way there are several other valuable hands to draw to in case 4th street is a brick in terms of a low hand.

Another good hand to consider starting with is a hand such as 6-7-8 which can draw for a low hand but can also draw to a middle straight. The whole idea is to give yourself multiple ways to win as well as ways to 'scoop' the entire pot.

3rd Street Door Cards

Starting Hands/Outs

For those of you that don't know, the term 'door' card refers to the third card that is dealt face up to each player. This card is very important because you will see what cards are 'alive,' meaning available to you and which cards are 'dead,' or not available to you.

Door cards are very important to pay attention to simply because you can have a hand such as A-A-K, but your opponents can have the remaining 3 kings and 2 aces in their doors which renders your hand absolutely useless.

Another example would be if a player has 10-9-[J] and notices that most of the queens and 8 are gone. There is virtually almost nothing to draw to which makes this hand that much less valuable and quite honestly, not even worth playing.

Always pay attention to door cards. This practice will help you as you continue through each street and will allow you to gauge the overall strength of your hand.

Aces as Door Cards

It would obviously make sense that if you were the only player that has an Ace showing in the door that you should make a raise regardless of the other two cards you have to force everyone into folding.

While this raise may make sense, almost everyone is expecting the raise thus not respecting it and not giving you credit for a hand that you may or may not have. From personal experience at the lower stakes Stud cash games, it is always worthwhile to fold trashy hands that have an ace in them. It gives you a little bit of fold equity the next time you have an ace in your hand and want to raise with it and it keeps you from being called while you hold a less than par hand.

Betting on 3rd Street

7-card Stud in general is a rather passive game. Many players are looking to draw for as cheap as possible with not so great of hands and in Stud Hi/Lo, this of course is amplified ten-fold because now players are drawing to low hands as well.

So, if you have a hand that is worth playing than in most cases it is a hand worth raising with as well, and raising will do a few things for you:
• Gets people with garbage hands to fold (most anyway)
• Build a pot that will get you the most value for your hand
• Can induce players to play so-so hands in attempt to avoid being 'ran over' at the table. This can be good for you if you are selective in your starting hands.

The bottom line is, is that if you have a hand worth playing than it must be worth raising with. Not only that, but if you are playing in a Hi/Lo game, you will be splitting the pot more often which makes it difficult to make a profit. The only way to counter this is to raise and build a pot with your good hands.

How to Play 3rd Street in Stud

As we previously mentioned, the best way to start learning how to turn a profit in 7-card Stud is to simply start in the beginning. And in the beginning, a player will need to understand which hands to start with, how to read their opponent's door cards and understand that aggression is key. This information alone will get any beginning Stud player on the road to success.