How to Play 7 Card Stud

Seven card stud is a fun game that requires a little skill, a little strategy, a little memory and a little luck. Prior to the Texas Holdem boom, Seven Card Stud was the most popular poker game. Seven card stud remains popular on the east coast (eg: atlantic city) and throughout Europe. You’ll usually find at least one stud game in live/B&M casino poker rooms and most online poker sites spread the game on the virtual felt.

If you’re used to playing holdem, take note of these major differences: in seven card stud there are no “community” cards. The cards you’re dealt are yours and yours alone. There are five betting rounds in 7-Stud as opposed to the four betting rounds used in Hold’em. Seven card stud is played with an antes and a bring-in (instead of blinds) and perhaps the most important difference: in seven card stud, the players’ hands determine the order of action.

Game Play

Seven Card Stud is played with 2-8 players. Prior to the deal, each player posts an ‘ante.’

Once everyone has antied up, each player is dealt three cards: two face down and one face up.

The player with the lowest ranked face-up card, begins the betting with a ‘bring in’ (a forced minimal bet.)

The initial round of betting proceeds from the bring-in, in clockwise order. Anyone who wishes to play their hand, must post the bring-in. *Note: players are also allowed to raise during this opening round.

After the first betting round, another upcard is dealt to each player, followed by another round of betting.

The second betting round begins with the player whose upcards make the best poker hand (unlike the bring-in who starts the wagering with the lowest hand.) Example: if someone is showing a pair of dueces and no-one else at the table is showing a pair, then the pair of dueces opens the second round of betting.

Stud Slang

Each betting round is often refered to as a ‘street.’ The street you’re on corresponds to the number of cards in your hand. For example, the prior betting round is usually called 4th street ( you have four cards in your hand.)

5th street – A fifth card is dealt face up to every player. Play proceeds as in the previous round, with the highest hand betting first. If you’re playing a ‘limit’ stud game all bets and raises increase on 5th street & must be equal to the high limit bet size.

6th street – A sixth card is dealt face up to every player. Play proceeds as in the previous round (all bets and raises must be equal to the high limit bet size.)

7th street – A seventh and final card is dealt face down to every player. After all the cards are out (2 down, 4 up, 1 down) a fifth betting round takes place; final bets/raises and/or calls are made and the remaining players showdown their hands. Upon showdown, each player makes the best five-card poker hand out of the seven cards he was dealt. Anyone who has not folded prior to and/or on the last round of betting will have the option of showing their hand in hopes of taking down the pot.

General Strategy

Seven Card Stud is a high card game. More winning hands are decided by the highest pair of two pair or just the highest pair, than by straights, flushes and other big hands. Any time your high hand is beaten by what you see on the board (in other peoples hand) fold, unless you think you still have the best drawing hand. Fast play early high hands ( that could win without improvement) to thin out the competition.

When you start with a high pair, fast play to eliminate as many players as possible.

The first four cards are the major key to winning at Seven Card Stud . If your starting hands develop according to plan, you can be a strong favorite to win. If they don’t, you get out early.

Slow play starting draw hands like three to a straight or a flush. You want to keep other players in to build the pot odds.

Don’t play three to a low straight or a low flush

Watch the board closely for key cards that can seriously diminish your chances of making a good hand and for opponents hands that look dangerous. Play cautiously and fold out early if it looks like the tide is turning against you.

The BEST way to learn/experience any poker game is to get in the ring and mix-it up. The beauty of online play is you can do that for free… or VERY cheap. We suggest avoiding the free tables, the gameplay is riduculous (and teaches bad habits.) If you want a ‘real’ poker experience with very little risk: you can play for as little as 2cents on many sites… These cheap tables offer a MUCH better poker experience.

Article by: David P
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