Seven Card Stud is a classic poker game which can take a lifetime to master. In Seven Card Stud, players are individually dealt seven cards throughout the course of the hand, but only the best five-card poker hand possible for each player is used to determine the winner.
Seven Card Stud is usually played with a Limit betting structure, in which the bets are in fixed increments, unlike Texas Hold’em and Omaha. For example, in a $2/$4 limit game the bets are in increments of $2 on the first two betting rounds, and increments of $4 on the subsequent three betting rounds.
Rules for Seven Card Stud
Before a game of Seven Card Stud begins, all players ante a nominal amount (the exact amount depends on the game, and is displayed in the table’s title bar). For example, the ante is $0.15 in a $1/$2 game. This is the cost of being dealt into the hand.
Each player is initially dealt three cards, two hidden hole cards and one face up. The player with the lowest exposed card is the ‘bring-in’, and is forced to start the action. They must make either another nominal bet (the exact size of the bring-in depends on the game) or, if they choose, a full bet of the lower betting increment. Action continues clockwise around the table until betting is complete.
Each player receives another exposed card, called ‘Fourth Street’. The first player to act is the individual whose exposed cards have the highest poker value. For example, a player with an exposed pair of Kings would act first, if no other player is showing a pair of Aces or better. This player may either check or bet the lower structured betting amount (for example, $2 in a $2/$4 game). There is a round of betting.
Each player now receives another exposed card, called ‘Fifth Street’. Again the first player to act is the individual whose exposed cards have the highest poker value. There is a round of betting. Starting on Fifth Street and for the rest of the hand, all bets are in big bet increments ($4 in a $2/$4 game).
Each player now receives another exposed card, called ‘Sixth Street’. Again, the first player to act is the individual whose exposed cards have the highest poker value. There is a round of betting.
Seventh Street (or the River)
Each player now receives a seventh and final card, which is dealt face-down and known only to the player to whom the card is dealt. The first player to act is the individual whose exposed cards have the highest poker value. There is a final betting round, and if more than one player remains, we reach the Showdown.
If there is more than one remaining player when the final betting round is complete, the last bettor or raiser shows his or her cards first. If there was no bet on the final round, the player in the earliest seat shows his or her cards first (Seat 1, then Seat 2, and so on). The player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot. In the event of identical poker hands, the pot will be equally divided between the players with the best hands.
Player Betting Options
In Stud, as with other forms of poker, the available actions are ‘fold’, ‘check’, ‘bet’, ‘call’ or ‘raise’. Each poker player always has the option to fold, to discard their cards and give up any interest in the pot. Exactly which options are available depends on the action taken by the previous players. If nobody has yet made a bet, then a player may either check (decline to bet, but keep their cards) or bet. If a player has bet, then subsequent players can fold, call or raise. To call is to match the amount the previous player has bet. To raise is to not only match the previous bet, but to also increase it. Bets and raises in Limit games are in pre-determined amounts.