How To Play 7 Card Stud Poker
Seven Card Stud is one of the oldest forms of poker still played today, by both professionals and poker enthusiasts. 7 Card Stud is played in online poker rooms, land-based casinos and often in home games, as well. Using a single, standard 52-card deck, 2-8 players may join in a game of 7 Card Stud.
7 Card Stud can be played in Fixed Limit, No Limit and Pot Limit; however Fixed Limit is the most common option. For this guide, we will use a Fixed Limit betting structure with $1/$2 stakes.
Object of Stud Poker
The object of 7 Card Stud is quite simple - each player will receive 7 cards throughout the hand with which to create the best possible 5-card poker hand. The highest ranking hand at the end of the game wins.
Betting Structure of Stud Poker
As mentioned above, we are going to use a Fixed Limit Betting Structure with stakes of $1/$2 for all examples in this guide to playing 7 Card Stud. Fixed Limit means a player must place all Bets/Raises in a pre-determined amount.
For this first three betting rounds (3rd, 4th and 5th Street), bets must be equal to the low-end stakes of $1. The final two betting rounds (6th and 7th Street) require bets / raises equal to the high-end stakes of $2.
- Ante: Every player must place an Ante into the pot before any cards are dealt. The Ante varies somewhat, but is generally 10% to 25% of the low-end stakes ($.10-$.25).
- Bring In: The bring in bet can also vary, but is most often equal to half of the low-end stakes ($.50). This bet is placed after the first set of cards have been dealt - 3 to each player, two face-down and one face-up - by the player with the lowest face-up card, known as the door card. Should two or more players tie for the lowest card, the bring in bettor is determined by the lowest suit. Suits rank lowest to highest in alphabetical order - Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades.
- Check: If no player has yet placed chips into the pot in the current betting round, you may check. This means you are not betting, but not folding either. If another player bets after you have checked, you will need to call the bet, raise or fold.
- Bet: The first person to place chips into the pot in a betting round is placing a bet.
- Call: When a player has placed a bet before you, you may call by placing an equal amount of chips in the pot.
- Raise: If a previous player has already bet, you may raise by placing an equal amount to the previous bet (call), followed by an additional equal amount (raise).
- Fold: To forfeit the current hand/pot by throwing in your cards, face-down.
- All-In: If you do not have enough chips to cover a bet (or just enough to cover), you may go All-In by pushing your remaining chips into a separate stack near the center of the table. If you lose, you are out of chips and out of the game. If you win, you may only collect chips from each player equal to the amount of your All-In Bet.
General Game Play of Stud Poker
The game starts with all players placing an Ante bet. Each player is then dealt 3 cards. The first two are dealt face-down, called hole cards. The third is dealt face-up, called the door card. The player with the lowest door card (ties determined by lowest suit - Club, Diamond, Heart, Spade) places the bring In bet.
The first round of betting begins, starting with the player left of the bring in bettor. bets / raises must be equal to the low-end stakes of $1. When betting comes back around to the bring In bettor, he has already placed the bring in bet, therefore may call the current bet by adding enough chips to his bring in bet equal the full bet amount.
4th Street: Each player is dealt a fourth card, face-up. The next round of betting begins, same as the last, except that the player showing the highest open (face-up) hand must start the betting in every round from here on out. Note that the highest possible open hand at this point is a pair of Aces.
5th Street: Each player is dealt a fifth card face-up, followed by another round of betting, same as the last.
6th Street: Each player is dealt a sixth card, face-down. Another round of betting begins, but from here out, all bets / raises must be equal to the high-end stakes of $2.
7th Street: Each player receives a seventh and final card, this time face-down. The open hands have not changed, therefore the player who started the last betting round will do so again.
The Showdown: Assuming there are at least two players remaining in the hand (everyone hasn't folded), each remaining player will reveal their cards. The player who can create the highest ranking 5-card poker hand from their own 7 cards wins the entire pot.
Possible Problems in 7 Card Stud Poker
There's not enough cards! Okay, this is very rare, but yes it is possible to run out of cards before all hands can be completely dealt. This will only occur at a full table of 8 players when no one has chosen to fold. (8 players x 7 cards = 56; there's only 52 cards in the deck!) If this actually happens, the final 7th card is dealt as a community card. This means a single card is dealt face-up in the center of the table for all players to use as their final card.
Showdown Ties: If two or more players have the exact same winning hand (pair of Kings, 10-high straight, etc.) the winners will split the pot. When suit is applicable (Flush, Royal Flush, etc.) the highest suit rank wins. As mentioned above, suits are ordered alphabetically, lowest to highest - Club, Diamond, Heart, Spade.
The hand rankings are the same as in Texas Holdem. You can review the 7 Card Stud hand rankings here.
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