There are three major poker variations, stud poker, draw poker, and community poker. Stud Poker is basically any game of poker where you’re stuck with the cards that you’re given, and they’re yours and yours alone. In draw poker games, you can give back some of the cards you’re dealt, and trade them for new ones. In community card games, like Holdem, you get a few cards, and then there are other cards that are shared with all of the players.Seven Card Stud, as you can tell from it’s name is a stud poker game. You get seven cards, no more, no less. Seven stud is a variation of the classic poker game Texas Hold’em. Or in reality, Holdem is a variation of Seven Card Stud. Seven Card Stud is typically played with as few as 2 up to 7 players using a standard 52 card poker deck.
Dealing Seven Card Stud
A game of 7 Card Stud begins with each player receiving 3 hole cards and 4 up cards dealt out in different intervals with a total of 5 rounds of betting held after each card or set of cards dealt. The first interval consists of 3 cards, 2 of these cards are dealt face down and the is dealt face up to each player.After this round of dealing, the players make their bets. The player with the seemingly worst hand makes the first bet. The initial bet is called the ‘bring in’ bet, it’s a forced bet, and is not optional.During the next 3 rounds 1 card is dealt face up to each player, after each of which the players are given the opportunity to place bets again. In the final round each player is dealt 1 final card face down.The player that makes the best 5 card poker hand from their 7 cards is the winner. In the event of a tie the pot is split evenly amongst the winners.Playing Stud Poker is relatively straight forward. The game commonly starts off with every player putting in an ante however, not all casinos, or online poker sites use ante’s in games of 7 Card Stud. In the case of an ante though, the ante does not count toward a portion of the players bet, it’s just a bet made to kickoff the game. Typically an ante is approximately 1/5 of the low limit bet size.Let’s take a look at the game as it’s played out.
Seven Card Stud – Third StreetAfter all players have paid their ante each player is dealt 2 hole cards and 1 up card. That means they’re each given two cards face down (the hole cards) and one card dealt face up for all the other players to see (the ‘up card’).The player with the lowest exposed card, which at this point is really the player with the worst visible hand is forced to make the first bet. This bet is called the bringing, it’s a forced bet, it’s not optional. The bringing bet is usually pretty small in relation to the actual size of bets in the game. Players do have to take a moment to enjoy the irony in a game that makes the guy with the worst hand make a bet, whether he wants to or not.Now once the bringing bet has been paid by the poor sucker with the lowest card showing, betting continues clockwise with each player, deciding whether to call, raise the amount of the bet or fold, until we make our way back to the player that paid the bring in bet. There is a maximum of 2 raises per round of betting.
Seven Card Stud – Fourth Street
The next card dealt to each player, known as ‘Fourth Street’. This card is an up-card, so all of the players will be privy to the value of each others card again, now with the ability to see two of each players up-cards. From this point on the player with the highest showing poker hand is first to act, meaning they can check, bet, or if they’re particularly ignorant, fold. Following that player, again in the same direction as last time, each player checks, calls, bets (if no one else has made a bet), raises, or folds to another players bet, players can fold if there has been no bet made, it’s just not going to win them any reputation points at the table.
Seven Card Stud – Fifth Street
Each player receives the next exposed card which is called ‘Fifth Street’. Again, the player with the highest showing poker hand is first to act and another round of betting occurs. This street is played just like 4th street.
Seven Card Stud – Sixth Street
Each player receives the next exposed card which is called ‘Sixth Street’. Again, the player with the highest showing poker hand is first to act and another round of betting occurs. This round is again played just the same as the two above.
Seven Card Stud – Seventh Street, or The River
Each player receives a seventh and final exposed card, which is dealt facedown. The player with the highest showing poker hand is first to act. There is a final betting round which takes place. The last card in this game isn’t called the river, but you might hear poker players that commonly play holdem poker whining about losing on the river, that is because the last card dealt in a holdem game is referred to as the river card.Once all cards have been dealt and all players have made and/or called all bets each player that has yet to throw their cards away shows their hand starting with the player that has the highest poker hand, still valued using their exposed cards. The player with the highest 5 card poker hand wins the pot.
Other Stud Poker Variants
Another variant of Stud Poker is Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, which is also known as ‘Stud Eight or Better’ or ‘Stud/8’. In Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo games there are two potential winners for the hand. The player with the highest poker hand and the lowest poker hand split the pot.The players with a low poker hand must qualify for low before their hand is eligible as a low hand. To qualify for a low hand the player must have 5 unique cards that are of a value 8 and under (aces low) w/out pairing up, straights and flushes are ok. A player may have a hand that qualifies for high and low using different combinations of cards for each. If no low hand qualifies A then the high hand wins the whole pot. If more than one player has the same low hand then the low part of the pot is divided evenly between those players. You can practice playing Stud Poker online for free on one of the top online poker rooms.