The play of pairs of nines and lower gets trickier, as it matters whether your pairs are wired or split. Therefore, play of these pairs will be discussed in two separate sections.
Playing Pairs – Split Pairs
For the sake of simplicity, it can be said that medium split pairs (sevens, eights, and nines) can generally be played like premium pairs. Raise on third street, but watch out if there are raises out there from multiple players with door cards higher than your pair. In fact, with a medium pocket pair on third street, it’s best to try to win the pot right then and there. Get everyone out of the way, take the pot down, and move on. Playing a split pair of sevens all the way to showdown can be an expensive practice.
With small split pairs (sixes and lower), you are playing to improve your hand. If you see one of your pair cards exposed in another player’s hand, you should fold, as your chances of improving have decreased dramatically. Your kicker also becomes important here, as pairing an ace kicker will give you a much better two pair than pairing an eight kicker. Remember, you want to improve your hand in this situation; split fives are seldom going to win a pot called to the river in seven card stud.
The alternative to actually improving your hand when playing with correct poker strategy is just representing an improved hand. Maybe you have, for example, As-6d in the hole and 6s exposed, and the 5s comes on fourth street, you can now represent strength in your hand. An opponent could become afraid of a straight or a flush and may fold their pair of tens. Even if you raise in this spot in get called, you still have a chance to draw out a flush or straight, get one of the remaining sixes to make a set, or catch an ace to make two pair. Any of these scenarios may likely give you a winning hand.
Playing Pairs – Wired Pairs
The major advantage that wired pairs have is that on those occasions when you catch a set, it is concealed much better than with a split pair. Generally, you will make three of a kind about ten percent of the time when playing to the river. It is also good when you have two cards to a flush or straight on the opening round. This gives you a slightly higher chance of improving on your low or medium pair.
When playing wired pairs, the same general rule applies as above: consider throwing your hand away when facing a multi-raise pot with multiple opponents who have up cards higher than your pair. The other general rule is that in a multi-way pot where some other player(s) is showing aggression, consider folding if you have not improved by fifth street. Remember, bets increase on fifth street and it will cost you a considerable sum to keep playing your hand past this point.
Wired and Split pairs have to be used correctly when playing Seven Card Poker strategy correctly in order to increase your profitability.