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Friday, June 25, 2004

Ashley Adams's Winning 7-Card Stud
A couple weeks ago I posted about my purchase of Ashley Adams's Winning 7-Card Stud. I finished it very quickly, as it's an easy read, but figured I'd wait to post my thoughts about the book until I had put its lessons to the test a few times. (So far I've played 5 sessions of .50/$1 7-Stud on Paradise, maybe 3.5 hours total, and I'm up $59. It's not statistically significant or anything, but it is confidence-building :)

First off, when I mentioned buying a 7-Card Stud book, I got this comment from Felicia: "Please buy Seven Card Stud for Advanced Players. Please, please! Take my word for it. Don't mess around with anything else." Rest assured that I will be purchasing Sklansky et al.'s book, for three reasons:
  1. 7-Card Stud is turning out to be far more fun to play online that I'd thought it would be.
  2. Adams's book is strictly for beginners, and it's left me wanting to learn more.
  3. Felicia, probably the best 7-Card Stud player among the many poker bloggers I read, recommended it!
That said, I am glad to have read a beginner's book on Stud, both because I wanted to make sure I knew the basic strategy of the game, and because I assume that Sklansky et al.'s book will be geared for higher limits and more sophisticated players than I'm likely to face anytime soon.

Winning 7-Card Stud was probably a little more oriented to beginners than I really needed--Adams's first chapter is directed at someone who's never played casino poker before. I think it does a very good job in this respect: If I had a friend who was just dying to play poker in a casino ASAP, I might give them this book. (Of course, said friend would probably only want to play Hold'em, but after reading Adams's book I think 7-Card Stud might be the more appropriate game for the complete newbie.) Throughout the book, Adams doesn't just discuss strategy--he also incorporates advice on casino etiquette, how much money to sit down with, the different types of players you're likely to face, dealing with losses and tilt, etc.

Adams's second chapter, appropriately titled "A Winning Basic Strategy," is the real meat of the book, where he prescribes minimum starting hands and how to play them. It's far and away the longest chapter in the book. Some of his teachings I'd read elsewhere, in general how-to poker books such as Edwin Silberstang's The Winner's Guide to Casino Poker and Andy Nelson's Poker: A Winner's Guide. But it was nice to see the bare-bones info I'd read elsewhere fleshed out. Adams's basic strategy is a lot simpler than I would've thought. I know 7-Card Stud is a complex game and that there are tons of levels I have yet to aspire to, but just reading through the tight, straightforward style that Adams's recommends made me feel confident that at the low-limit level, there's not a whole lot of mystery as to how to play: Fold, fold, fold, and bet when you have it.

The remaining chapters of the the book are titled "Deception," "Putting people on Hands," "Expanding Your Repertoire," and "General Poker Concepts." None of these chapters were as useful. They deal with topics such as bluffing, semi-bluffing, the free card, etc., concepts which I am familiar with from Hold'em and are covered in far more depth in Sklansky's Theory of Poker. But again, this might be great reading for the beginner, and reinforced my view that Winning 7-Card Stud could make a very good introduction-to-poker book.

One of the final sections of the last chapter is subtitled "Taking It to the Next Level," where Adams says that his book is not intended to help one beat the higher limits, and that for that the reader should turn to Sklansky et al.'s book.

Early on in Winning 7-Card Stud I was reminded of Lee Jones's Winning Low Limit Hold'Em, and the comparison stuck with me throughout. Jones's book is the one that helped me start beating the low limits, and it remains the #1 book I recommend to new Hold'em players. Later I read Sklansky and Malmuth's Hold'Em Poker for Advanced Players, and I really haven't stopped rereading it since.

Is Ashley Adams to 7-Card Stud what Lee Jones is to Texas Hold'em? And if so, is Winning 7-Card Stud to Seven Card Stud for Advanced Players what Winning Low Limit Hold'Em is to Hold'Em Poker for Advanced Players? And why has this post suddenly started to sound like the SAT exam?

To sum up: I liked Winning 7-Card Stud, and I am really liking winning at 7-Card Stud. But as in Hold'em, the basics only give you the ability to beat bad, loose players. So I'll be buying Hold'Em Poker for Advanced Players.

A Couple Notes

Notes? Geez, what is this, a research paper? . . .

1. Paradise .50/$1 has no ante. Easy to sit there and wait for the right starting hands. On Absolute (the only other place I've played 7-Stud so far) there is a nickel ante, and not only did that damn nickel make it harder for me to sit there and fold, it made it so that most of the players saw 4th and 5th street, cause "hey, I'm already invested for a nickel." Party pots = more variance.

2. I may purchase Seven Card Stud for Advanced Players through this deal. (I already have an account on Pacific Poker, but Mrs. Cheap Thrills doesn't.)

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