Seven Card Stud poker is one of the most popular forms of poker. Both experienced poker players and beginners enjoy playing Seven Card Stud. As its name indicates, this poker game is played with seven cards. Each of the players receives three cards face down (for your eyes only) and four cards face up, that everyone can see.
All in all there are five betting rounds in Seven Card Stud.
There may be less rounds if before all seven cards are dealt a player makes a bet and no one else calls, in which case he or she will win the pot. A hand in seven card stud is still complied of five cards, and it is up to the player which cards to use and which cards to leave out of the hand.
How To Play the Game
There are five betting rounds in Seven Card Stud. One bet and three raises are allowed in each betting round. Seven Card Stud poker begins with an ante, meaning that each player adds to the pot a fixed sum.
The sum is determined by the poker room or, in a private game, by the participants. Then the dealer begins dealing. Each player receives initially three cards, two face down cards and one face-up card, otherwise known as “up”, “door card” or “Third Street”.
The player who received the lowest up card opens the first round of bets. If two players received the same low ranking up card, then suits determine the round, progressing from clubs, diamonds, hearts, to spades. After the first bet is made each player may call, raise, or fold. This first round of betting is also known as “Third Street”.
After everyone have placed their bets, a fourth card is dealt, face-up. From here on, the betting rounds start with the player who has the highest ranking cards showing either betting or checking. After this the other players in turn choose to call, raise, or fold. This second round is called “Fourth Street”.
After “Fourth Street” a fifth card is dealt, face-up, and a betting round starts. This is called (unsurprisingly) “Fifth Street”.
Next the sixth card is dealt, face-up, followed by a fourth betting round. This is called “Sixth Street”.
The seventh and last card is dealt face down. This card is also called “River Card” or “Seventh Street”. The players then decide which five cards they are going to use, and they make their final bets.
(Stud is limited to eight players. Though chances that all players stay in the game till the last round is slim, if this occurs there won’t be enough cards in the deck to deal an individual card to each player. Instead, there will be one river card, and it will be dealt faced up, for the use of all players.)
At the end of “Seventh Street”, there is a showdown of hands. Wining hand takes the pot. If two hands are tied, suits won’t determine the winner but rather both players will split the pot.
- If you see that another player’s up cards make a stronger hand than your cards, it is best to fold.
- The most important moment in Seven Card Stud poker is the fifth betting round. If you do not have a strong hand by then, it would be the right time to simply fold. Stay in the game after the fifth round only if you think that you can play your hand until the end of he game.
- Keep your eyes opened to see if other players received a card that you need in order to complete a hand. If you are playing Stud online, write down the cards that you see, and calculate your chances accordingly. For example: if you are trying to make a full house with a pair of tens and a pair of sixes, and on the table there is one ten and two sixes, there is only one card that can help you: a ten. Your chances are obviously very very slim.
If you start with a high pair, fast play to get rid of as many players as possible. Slow play starting can draw hands like three to a straight or a flush. The idea is to keep other players in to build the pot.
It’s not wise to begin with a small pair unless they are hidden or your sidecard can beat the board.
It’s not advisable to play three to a low straight or a low flush.
Keep your eye on the board for key cards that can seriously diminish your chances of making a good hand and for opponent’s hands that could pose a threat. Play carefully and fold out early if it looks like things aren’t going to go your way.
Unless you are playing a strong draw hand, it’s advisable to fold if your complete hand can be beaten on the board by another player’s upcards.
It’s good to study your opponent’s moves, particularly when you are not playing hands and can pay closer attention to what’s going on. Do you notice your opponents play more often than they fold? Do they bluff? Can they be bluffed? Do they have any tell-tale signs that give away information about their hands?
It’s good to get caught bluffing every now and then. It’s a sure way to mix up your play and not be too predictable. You can win pots you don’t deserve more easily when your bluffing works. You may lose a few chips in the process but it will get you calls from weaker hands later on when you are really strong and need the action.
The first four cards are the biggest part to winning at Seven Card Stud. If your starting hands develop as you anticipate, you can be a strong favorite to win. If they don’t, you can bail out early in the game and escape the cost of winding up in second place.
Always work on your Poker-face.
Variations of 7 Card Stud Poker
A variation can be an interesting way to renew a game that has been played a lot. Some variations have advantages over regular Stud, such as allowing a larger amount of players and speeding up the game. Each of the variation games that we shall bring here has specific rules, which should be read carefully and understood fully by a new player who joins a game.
Seven Card Mutual
In a game of Seven Card Mutual the face-up cards are not dealt to a player individually but rather are put on the board for everyone’s use. They are called “mutual” cards. Because the face up cards in this game are not given individually but collectively, less cards are needed, and so Seven Card Mutual can be played with up to sixteen players.
In Omaha the first betting round takes place straight after the two down cards are dealt (as oppose after the third card, in Stud). This game also involves using mutual cards, put on the board for everyone’s use. The last card dealt is also a mutual card (as oppose to a face down card in Stud). Because there are only two individual, face down, cards, less cards are needed, and so Omaha can be played with up to twenty four players.
This is Omaha with a twist: after the seventh and final card is dealt, before the final betting round takes place, players are offered the option of buying an extra card, faced down. The price of the card is either half the size of the existing pot or, in a low limit game, the exact size of the existing pot.
This game is also very similar to Omaha. The big difference is that in Amarillo a player must compile his hand using his two face down cards and three faced up cards. This rule prevents the situation that occurs in Omaha, in which the pot is split up by all the participants around the table. This happens when the winning five cards are those which are put face up on the table. For example, if the five up cards in Amarillo make a straight flush, it won’t help a player unless he has two hole cards to go with it. However, in a game of Omaha the players don’t have to use their own cards and can simply use the communal cards. Unless one of the players has a high card which will make for a stronger hand (instead of a 7-Jack on the table having a “hole” card of Queen to make a 10-Queen), all the players will use the table cards and will win the pot, which will be split up evenly amongst them.
Stud 8 or Better
Stud 8 or Better is the Hi/Lo version of Seven Card Stud. This means that the pot might be split between two hands: the highest ranking hand and the lowest qualifying hand. In order for a low hand to be qualified it must consist of cards which are eight or lower. If there are two low hands, the hand with the lowest high card wins. If the lowest high card is similar, the next high cards determines the winner. An Ace may be used as a low card, ranking 1. The best low hand, also known as the “wheel” or “bicycle”, is Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5. A straight and a flush don’t count in low hands.