7 Card Stud Poker

Before Texas Holdem gained immense popularity in casual and professional games around 2002, Seven Card Stud was often cited as the most popular variation of poker played in the home, online and at brick and mortar casinos. Although Texas Holdem has since driven many players away from Seven Card Stud, the game still has a large online following. The game can be played with two to eight players but some serious games will include as many as nine players. In the event that eight or more players are involved in the game, there might need to be some alterations to the rules to prevent running out of cards in the deck.

Even at eight players, there are not enough cards in a standard deck for all players to receive a full hand. So, nine handed 7 Card Stud relies on a few players folding early in the hand. 7 Card Stud is included in the popular mixed game format HORSE and is the fourth game, or S in the acronym.

7 Card Stud Rules

Regardless of the way in which 7 Card Stud is played, there is usually an ante or an obligatory bet that each player makes to stay in the hand - before receiving any cards. In some games, there is also a bring in that is an additional required wager that applies to a single player - a responsibility that rotates around the table from player to player or is assigned to the player whose face up cards are of the least rank. Should this responsibility need to be decided by a tie, the suits of the tie cards are considered to break it. Spades is considered to be the suit of most value. The value of the suits continues with Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs.

How to Play 7 Card Stud

7 Card Stud utilizes a series of face up and face down cards dealt to each player. Regardless of the betting round, decisions are always made going clockwise around the table. In most 7 Card Stud play, the player with the highest ranked poker hand will always make the first betting decision in each round. For example, a player whose face up cards show a pair of threes would go before a player with an Ace and King. The first cards are dealt with 2 face down cards and 1 face up. Following this deal, a betting round commences that must be concluded before another card is dealt. Players have the option to check, bet, raise or fold depending on the actions of the players that acted before them.

The following three cards are dealt one at a time, face up. Each of these cards is followed by a betting round that works in precisely the same way as the original round. These cards are often assigned a name much like in Texas Holdem with the Turn and River. The 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th cards are referred to as Fourth Street, Fifth Street, Sixth Street and Seventh Street, respectively. The 7th card dealt to players is distributed face up and completes the deal with 3 face down cards and 4 face up cards for each player. There is a variety of 7 Card Stud called Mississippi where the betting round between the 4th and 5th cards is not played.

7 Card Stud Strategy

A good understanding of 7 Card Stud strategy begins with a discussion of starting hands. It is during the first betting round when players have the most bluffing advantage over other players. The best starting hand possible in 7 Card Stud is 3 of a kind. It is typically not a good idea to chase low flushes as they are much less valuable in 7 Card Stud and usually telegraphed by your face up cards. Remember to consider all of the face up cards around the table before attempting to bluff or making a decision about an opponents hand. The more face up cards there are on the table, the more convincing a good bluff will be and the harder it will be to do so.