How To Play Seven Card Stud
Tuesday, 2. February 2010

Before Texas Hold’em rolled onto the scene, Seven Card Stud was the most popular poker game in casinos. In addition, most of the wilder home games such as Baseball and Follow The Ace are actually variations on Seven Card Stud with wild cards. Each player is dealt 7 cards, as such; the number of players in a game of Seven Card Stud is limited to 7.

The Game
Seven Card Stud is a fairly simple game. Each player is dealt 2 cards face down and 1 card face up in the first round, 1 card face up in the second round, 1 card face up in the fourth round, 1 card face up in the fifth round and 1 card face down in the 6th and final round for a total of 7 cards. The player with the best 5 card hand of the 7 cards that they are dealt wins the pot.

Seven Card Stud is structured with five betting rounds unlike Texas Hold’em and Omaha which have just four. There are also two different betting derivations dependent upon the limits you play. In higher limits, let us say for the sake of argument $10/$20, the first two betting rounds would be $10 and the last three rounds double to $20. Generally, you will find that in the lower limit games the betting levels are usually a spread amount. In a low limit game with a $1-$5 spread, a player may bet any amount with $1 being the minimum bet and $5 being the maximum bet. Should a player wish to raise, they must double the amount of the corresponding bet.

Antes
An ante is a compulsory bet in which all players are required to put an equal amount of chips or money into the pot before any cards are dealt. Seven Card Stud is an ante game for the most part. The only exception being that some poker rooms may offer low limit games without antes. The amount of the ante required is dependent upon the limit of the game and may also differ from poker room to poker room. Generally, the ante is usually between 10% and 25% of the full bet. In the case of a $10/$20 game, the ante will generally be between $2 and $5.

The Opening
Once the antes are put up, the dealer scoops the chips into the pot. Players do not deal in casinos as casinos employ professional dealers to shuffle and deal the cards. These dealers do not take part in the games. A dealer button is used to denote the player who is the last to act and it rotates one player to the left with the passing of each hand. At the outset of the game, each player is dealt two cards face down and one card face up beginning with the player to the immediate left of the dealer (or the dealer button as the case may be). Cards dealt face down in Seven Card Stud are known as “hole” cards and cards dealt face up are known as “door” cards.

Third Street
The first betting round in Seven Card Stud is known as Third Street because three cards are dealt to begin the hand. Once the first three cards are dealt then the first betting round begins. The first betting round requires that the player with the lowest door card make a forced bet known as the “Bring In” bet. The amount of the bring in bet falls somewhere between the ante and the minimum bet. In the case of a $10/$20 game, the bring in will generally be in the neighborhood of $4. In the case of a low limit $1-$5 spread game, the bring in bet will usually be in the neighborhood of $1. It is strongly advised that you inquire as to the size of the antes and bring in bets before you sit at a table to avoid any confusion. After the bring in bet has been posted, betting continues to the player to the immediate left of the player that made the bring in bet. This player has the option of calling the bet, raising the bet or folding. In the first round, players may raise an amount equal to the minimum bet for the game. In the case of a $10/$20 game that amount is $5. In the case of a $1-$5 spread game, the raise must be between $1 and $5.

Fourth Street
Once all of the bets have been made for the “bring in” round, players are dealt a second door card and the second round of betting gets underway. Herein, betting begins with the player showing the highest card or hand if they are showing a pair. Unlike the bring in round, this player is not required to make a forced bet and may either check, raise or fold. Should a player make a bet then all players acting after the bet may call, raise or fold.

In a $10/$20, the requisite bet for Fourth Street is $10, the first person to raise may raise to $20 and all raises following are made in increments of $20. The exception to this rule is if the first player to act is showing a pair in their two door cards in which case they may make an initial bet of $20. In a spread game of $1-$5, the initial bet can be between $1 and $5 and all raises following are made in increments of the initial bet.

Fifth Street
Once fourth street bets have concluded, a third door card is dealt to all of the active players. The action begins with the player showing the highest hand and they may either check or bet. The action continues clockwise amongst the active players. In limit games, the betting is now bumped up to the higher bet. In the case of a $10/$20, bets are now made in increments of $20.

Sixth Street
Once the fifth street bets have concluded, a fourth door card is dealt to all of the active players and another betting round begins with the player showing the highest hand acting first.

Seventh Street
The seventh and final card is dealt face down. Each player left standing is now in possession of four door cards (face up) and three hole cards (face down). There is the last of five betting rounds and all of the remaining players show their hands. The player with the highest five card hand wins the pot.

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