Slow Playing in 7 Card Stud

written by: James

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Typically, when a player attempts to slow play a hand in poker, they normally want to try to lure their opponents in by acting weak in hopes that their opponents will try to take over the betting. Once the opponent decides to lead out and bet, then the player who slow-played the hand can check-raise to get more money in the pot or just flat call to slow play the hand further and make a move on a later round. In general, slow playing in poker can prove to be quite a profitable move.

However, slow playing can be just as dangerous a move as it is profitable. Many players seem to think that just because you have a great hand or the best possible hand at the moment, that it somehow warrants getting super sneaky. This can do more harm than good, especially in a game such as 7-card Stud where there tends to be several players involved in every hand and most of them are on draws to premium hands.

So, this begs the question "Is it possible to profitably slow play in 7-card Stud?"

The situations that warrant this are rather rare, but yes, it can be done and through a couple examples below, I will show you the do's and don'ts of slow playing in 7-card Stud.

Slow Playing in 7-Card Stud

The first thing that must be understood about slow playing in general in poker is that it is a dangerous maneuver. Repeat this to yourself; slow playing is dangerous.

The biggest reason that slow playing is so dangerous is that you are giving your opponents cheap or free cards that can ultimately make a hand that betters yours. In a game such as 7-card Stud, slow playing should be done rarely if ever because:

• Players love to draw to hands.

• Stud is a fixed limit game which means it is hard enough to extract value for your monster so when you do have them you should be betting the hell out of them and capping the bet each round.

To cap all of this off, many players that do decide to slow play most often then not choose the entirely wrong spots or hands to slow play. So again, a dangerous move is only getting worse.

To better explain, here are a couple examples.

Slow Play - A Bad Idea 1
You have Ks-10d-[Kc] in a $5/$10 Stud Hi game. After the 'bring in', 2 players fold to you where you decide to flat call for $5. Another 2 players fold and the last 2 players make the call. 

This is a horrible spot to slow play in; absolutely horrible. For some reason that is beyond me, many newish players like to slow play with hands like top pair by just flat calling instead of raising. Top pair is a strong hand in a game such as Hold'em where a hand like that tends to hold up more often at showdown. But even in that game, it is a bad idea to slow play just top pair.

But in 7-card Stud, top pair rarely holds up if ever at all. All that is accomplished here by slow playing is allowing several other players in the pot and giving them a chance to draw to better hands for free. All pairs should be raised and bet for value. There are very little exceptions to this rule in poker and none as far as I am concerned in Stud.

Slow Play - A Bad Idea 2

In this hand, you are playing $5/$10 Stud and are on 5th street with two other opponents and you are holding Jd-Js-[10d]-Jc-Qh. Opponent 1 has x-x-Ac-10c-9 h and Opponent 2 has x-x-7s-8s-Kc. Opponent 1 checks, Opponent 2 checks, and you decide to slow play your trips by checking behind as well.

This is another bad spot to slow play in as well. Sure, your hand is much better than the hand outlined above, but it is only 3 of a kind. Stud is the type of game where it is more common to see premium hands such as straights, flushes and full houses. So in short, treat three-of-a-kinds similarly to top pair; just bet for value. 

Additionally, if you look at your opponent's up cards you will notice that they are both on what seems to be flush draws with Opponent 1 looking as if he can be on a straight draw of a couple kinds. Do you really want them to improve here for free? I will answer that for you; no, you do not want them to draw a free card.

Slow Play - An Ok Idea

You are in a hand with one other opponent on 5th street in a $5/$10 Stud game. In your hand you have 8-8-[8]-10-10 and your opponent has x-x-[Ah]-10h-Js. It is your turn to act first, you decide to check it to your opponent who decides to bet into you, and you just flat call.

This here would be a reasonable hand to slow play with. You have the nuts and looks as if your opponent is drawing to a straight and/or flush so technically he is drawing dead. The check-call is a good move here and would even be reasonable on 6th street as well. Then on 7th street, I would lead out here in hopes to get re-raised so then I can re-raise him back.

This would be one of a few rare times if ever that I would suggest slow playing a hand.

Slow Playing in Stud Poker

Hopefully all of you can see the differences in hand requirements when it comes to attempting to slow play in 7-card Stud. Since there are so many kinds of draws that can be made in Stud, it really can be a dangerous and costly move to not try to bet and get your chips in when you have the best hand to attempt to discourage any drawers. So when you do decide to slow play, if you decide to slow play, be sure to have the absolute best hand possible to ensure that your sneakiness doesn't backfire on you by showdown.