Seven-Card Stud Playing Third Street

In Seven-Card Stud, third street is the first full betting round. It’s in this round, when you’re dealt three cards (two face-down and one face-up), that you need to make a realistic assessment of whether you should fold or continue playing.

By this stage, each player has already bet an ante. However, folding and losing your ante is going to be very, very much cheaper than continuing to play if your starting hand holds little promise.

Starting Hands at Third Street

The best possible starting card combination is trips (three-of-a-kind). With these cards at third street, it’s likely that you’ll win, especially given good odds of improving your hand to four-of-a-kind or full-house. The best idea is to play slow until fifth street, when the value of bets and raises is doubled, to keep as many players in the game and adding to the pot as possible.

Other card combinations you should consider playing at third street are

Top Pairs (10s or higher)

Raise and bet very aggressively in an attempt to narrow the field, unless anything suggests another player is holding a higher-ranked pair than yours. If another player does have a better pair, it would be wise to fold.

Three to a Flush

Three to a flush is three cards in the same suit, numbered such that you stand a chance of completing a flush when you’re dealt further cards.

The highest-ranking card and the number of possible cards that could complete a flush determine whether you should play or fold. For example, an ace, 10 and 3 of the same suit is very valuable because

  • other players are unlikely to complete ace-high flushes
  • you could complete the flush in more than one way
  • you can hope to pair high-ranking cards

Of course, you need to ensure that none of the cards you’re hoping to be dealt are already among the face-up cards in other players’ possession.

In this scenario, bet slow to keep as many other players as possible in the game past third street (so that if you win, you win a bigger pot) and to minimize your losses if the flush doesn’t materialize. If your hand hasn’t improved by fifth street, it’s best to fold then.

Three to an Outside Straight

This refers to three consecutively ranked cards such as 9, 10 and a jack, which you can hope to convert to a straight in more than one way – by being dealt cards below 9 and above the jack. If you can complete a possible straight only in one way (as with the cards 8, 10 and jack), it’s half as valuable and you should probably fold.

As for three to a flush, the strength of your highest-ranking card and the number of possible cards that could complete the straight determine whether you should stay or fold.

Play slow to keep other players in and fold if your hand doesn’t improve.

Pairs of 9 or Lower

Fold unless you have a very strong kicker (side card) like an ace, which you can hope to pair.

See fourth street for tips on playing the next round.