Before the massive explosion of Texas Hold’em worldwide, 7 Card Stud used to be the number one poker game in the world. Every professional poker player in the world knew the game and knew it well.
The times have changed, but the game of 7 Card Stud remains an important part of a well rounded poker player’s arsenal. Nowadays it’s more common to see stud played as part of mix games.
Let’s jump right in and learn the 7 Card Stud rules.
The Forced Bets
Stud is unlike Hold’em and Omaha, where two players to the left of the button post blinds. Instead, each player at the table posts an ante, usually worth 5% of the big bet.
The player who receives the lowest ranking Door Card posts a forced bet called the Bring-In which is worth 5 times the ante. If they so choose, this player may also Complete the bet, by posting the entire Small Bet.
In a $5/$10 7 Card Stud game, players would post $0.50 Ante, and the Bring-In would be $2.5. If the player chose to Complete, they would need to pay $5.
There are no Community Cards in stud games. Instead, each player in 7 Card Stud receives seven unique cards. The first dealing street includes two down cards and one up card to each of the players. Four consecutive dealing streets deal three more down cards followed by a final down card to each player.
After all 7 cards have been dealt, the players will be left with three cards face down and four cards face up.
The Betting Rounds
Once the player with the lowest Door Card has posted his Bring-In, the action continues clockwise around the table. Every player has the right to either raise the bet, call, or fold their cards.
In a $5/$10 game players would have the option to raise the Bring-In to $5. Since Stud is always played as a limit game there are exact limits as to how much you can raise.
The Third and Fourth street use the Small Bet as the raising and betting standard, while the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh street use the Big Bet.
The only exception to this is when a player pairs their Door Card on the Fourth Street, in which case they may open with the Big Bet instead of the Small Bet if they so choose.
To use our $5/$10 game example once more, players would be raising and betting in $5 increments on the first two streets and in $10 increments on the later 3 streets. If a player would pair his Door Card on the Fourth Street, they would get an option of opening with the $10 bet.
The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Street each include a single card being dealt face up to all remaining players. The Seventh Street is dealt face down, while the other three are dealt face up. A betting round follows after every dealing street.
Starting with the Fourth Street, the first player to act is always the one with the strongest showing hand.
For instance, a player showing a pair will always act before players whose hands are not showing a pair. Face down cards are irrelevant.
If more than one player remains in the hand after the Seventh Street, the players show their cards starting with seat one and around the table clockwise. If there was aggressive action on the last betting street, the player who made the aggressive action goes first in showing the cards.
The player with the strongest five card hand of poker wins the pot. The hands are ranked in the standard order, same as Hold’em or Omaha. If more than one player holds the same poker hand, the pot is split and divided to the winning players.
7 Card Stud Hi/Lo
7 Card Stud Hi/Lo is a Stud variant in which the best hand(Hi) splits the pot with the “worst” 5 card hand(Lo). The Lo hand is the lowest 5 card combination eight or lower, with the wheel(A-2-3-4-5) being the best possible Lo Hand.
In the game of Stud Hi/Lo, winning both the Hi and the Lo is called a scoop. Hands with the best chance of scooping are ones with 2 or more wheel cards that also have a good chance if hitting high hands, like flushes and straights.
7 Card Stud Hi/Lo is also a part of most modern day Mix Games and an important game to learn.
7 Card Stud remains one of the iconic games in the world of poker, but has lost much of its allure in recent years. Still, no poker player is complete without being able to play some 7 Card Stud and we recommend learning to play the game at a reasonable level, even if only for the Mix Game value.
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