Seven Card Stud is the most popular variant of the stud poker games, being played in home games and casinos all over the world until Texas Hold’em and Omaha became the new games to play. Today only a handful of casinos and online poker sites offer players the opportunity to play Seven Card Stud despite its former popularity.
Seven Card Stud is a very special game, not having anything in common with today’s popular games, except from using the “high ranking” system for determining which hand is the best. In Seven Card Stud players are dealt a total of seven cards, where three cards are face down and four cards are face up. This means that players are able to see more than half of your cards as the game develops, creating a very psychological game. Seven Card Stud has five betting rounds where players are dealt new cards and with no community cards to share between players. The players will then have to create the best possible five card hand out of the seven cards they have at showdown. The player with the best hand wins the pot and a new hand will begin.
Seven Card Stud is a very easy game to learn how to play, as long as you know the hand rankings you will be able to see if you have a good hand or not. When you play it in a home game, there can be a lot of different things to consider such as who has to pay the bring-in amount and who is first to act on each street, but when you play online the poker software handles all of these things for you, so all you need to worry about is playing your hand correctly.
When you start to play Seven Card Stud, you will need to know the basic game play rules.
Like in any other poker game, there has to be assigned a dealer for each hand to deal the players the cards virtually. The dealer will deal each player two cards face down and one card face up the first round and will deal the cards clockwise. When all the players have received their cards, the game can begin.
To have any cards dealt to you, you will always have to pay an ante in a Seven Card Stud game. The ante is to ensure that every player contributes to the pot on each hand and to have something worth gambling for.
Contrary to many other poker games, Seven Card Stud does not have blinds, but instead have a “bring-in” acting as a blind. The bring-in is the first bet of any Seven Card Stud game and the player who has to pay the bring-in is chosen by who was dealt the lowest ranking card face up. In the case that more than one player has the same low card, the cards suits will decide which player has to bring-in. The suits are ranked by alphabetical order, meaning that clubs are the lowest suit and hearts is the highest. After the player has paid the bring-in, the action moves clockwise around the table until everyone has made their decision.
After the first betting round where players have received the first three cards, another three rounds follows where players will be dealt one card face up each round. The last round then follows, where players receive the seventh and last card face down.
To determine which player acts first in all rounds after the first round, the player showing the best hand with his open cards will be first to act each round. To give an example, if one player has a pair of sevens shown and another player has a pair of eights shown, the player with the pair of eights has to act first.
Seven Card Stud can be played with 2-8 players sitting at the table, but might end up in problems with eight players playing, if none fold. As there is only 52 cards in a poker deck, it’s possible to run out of cards before the seventh street can be dealt and when that happens players will be dealt a single community card that they all have to share among each other to try and create the best possible hand.
In Seven Card Stud the dealer button doesn’t give players any advantages like it does in other games. The dealer button does not decide which player has to act first or last or who has to the bring-in, meaning that the dealer button is only there to show who is the virtual dealer of each hand/
When you start a new Seven Card Stud game, the player starting with the dealer button will be found by all players being dealt a card face up and the highest card wins the button. Players can now begin to play.
The first betting round is where the players are dealt the first three cards, two face down and one face up. Before any players will be dealt any cards, they will have to pay the ante. After the ante has been paid all players will receive their cards and the player with the lowest ranked card will be forced to minimum post the bring-in, but can also choose to raise to a fixed amount.
After the player has paid the bring-in or raised, the rest of the players have to make their decision about what they want to do. The players have the following options at this point:
Fold: When a player don’t want to pay the bring-in or any raised amount to play his hand he will fold
Call: When a player have a good starting hand, he will call the bring-in or a raise amount to get another card
Raise: When a player has got three good starting cards, he can choose to raise the hand to get more money in the pot
When all players have made their decision about what action they want to take, the hand moves on to the next betting round.
The second betting round is known as Fourth Street, as the players receive their fourth card here. The dealer will deal all remaining players a card face up and the player that shows the best possible hand from the visible cards will be the first to act. This means that if one player has a pair shown and the others don’t he will be first to act. This is the exact opposite of the third street, where the player with the worst card had to begin the round by paying a bring-in.
The players will now have the possibility to check the hand for free until someone posts a bet. Once a bet has been posted, players can no longer check, but can only choose to call, raise or fold their hand. When all players have chosen their action, the hand moves on to the next betting round.
Just like on the fourth street, players are dealt one more card face up to having a total of five cards now. The player with the best hand in this round will be first to act and can choose to check or bet. Depending on what his action is, the rest of the players can check, call, raise or fold their hands. When all players have taken their action, the hand moves on.
The sixth street is where the players get dealt their sixth card, which is the last card they will be dealt face up. All players will now have four cards face up and the player with the best hand will be first to act in this new betting round. Just like in the previous betting rounds, the players can choose to check, call, bet, raise or fold.
The final betting round is known as the seventh street and is where the players receive their seventh and final card which is dealt face down. The players will now have three hidden cards and four exposed in total. The player with the best shown hand will have to start the betting round and as in all the other rounds, the players have the options to check, call, bet, raise or fold depending on the previous action.
Should more than one player be left when the betting round is over, the hand has to go to showdown.
When more than one player is left in a hand after the last betting round, the hand has to go to showdown to find out who has the best five card combination according to the high ranking system. Players will reveal their hidden cards and the dealer will determine which player has the best hand.
Once the winner of the pot has been found, the money in the pot will be awarded to him and a new hand will begin right after.