7 Card Stud Bankroll Management

7 card stud is a high variance game and it takes a lot of skill to be played correctly.  There are a number of reasons the variance is so high in stud. First, there are 5 betting rounds, compared to only 4 in Texas Holdem.  Furthermore that extra betting round is a “big bet” round.  Secondly, in holdem, you have a pre-flop betting round and then 3 cards dealt on the flop.  So for one betting round, you have a complete 5 card hand.  In 7 card stud, however, you have an ante, third street betting round and 4th street betting round before we finally have a 5 card hand.  Those extra bets can add up quickly if you are on drawing hands that don’t develop well by 5th street.  Antes play a large role in variance as well.  There are some games with a very high ante that ultra-tight players will not be able to beat, simply because they will not be able to overcome the ante with their winning pots.  High antes require a looser and more aggressive style of play.  Finally, position, or lack thereof, has some effect.  In a fixed position game like holdem, players can reduce variance by playing very tightly in early position and loosening their starting hand requirements in late position.  With 7 card stud, the first player to act changes frequently during a single hand.  This eliminates the ability to reduce variance by dumping speculative hands in early positions.

A player should not avoid 7 card stud because of the variance however.  That extra round of betting also makes this game one of the most rewarding in terms of potential bet per hour earnings.

7 card stud is still a popular poker game, and variations of it can be found in just about every mixed game.  The larger online poker rooms will have the most active tables, and if you are a high limit player you will certainly need to be at a larger poker room or network to find games over $5/$10.  A few popular sites for 7 card stud players are found below.

Safe Bankroll for 7 Card Stud

A bankroll of 400 big bets is suggested.  Because of the high variance in this game, a larger than average bankroll is needed, even for a regular winning player.  If you are wanting to play $5/$10 stud, for example, a $4000 bankroll would be a good starting point.

Bankroll Required to Move Up

It is best to wait until you have 400 big bets of the next level you want to play before you make the move.  400+ would be even better, since many players will initially lose some money as they get used to the new skill level encountered at the higher level.

Bankroll Required to Move Down

From a strictly mathematical standpoint, a player MUST move down when his bankroll gets to 400 big bets at the next lower limit.  So if a player was winning at $3/$6 and moved to $5/$10 as soon as the bankroll was built to $4000, then they would need to move down if their bankroll got down to $2400.  An alternate rule of thumb for players who are willing to accept higher risks, would be to move down if their initial 400 big bets got down to 200 big bets.  In this scenario, the $5/$10 player could play down to a $2000 bankroll before moving back to $3/$6.  Keep in mind that this gives them only around 333 big bets at $3/$6, so they have a higher likelihood of having to move even further down if the losing skid continues, since they are already starting with a less than optimal bankroll.

When to Cash Out Bankroll Earnings

Anything over 400 big bets is fair game for cashing out.  If you are comfortable at $5/$10 and have no aspirations for higher levels, then simply keeping a $4000 base bankroll should do the trick.  It is highly advisable to not rob your bankroll in 7 card stud and go below the 400 big bet suggested minimum.  This is a high variance game and the low points will come!

In conclusion, a winning 7 card stud player can expect very good earnings over an extended period of time.  The higher variation requires a higher bankroll and very disciplined bankroll management in order to not go broke in this game.  As always, player skill level is the most important factor in determining the actual bankroll needed.