The most popular and most talked about the variation of poker is the Seven-card stud. This game can be played between two to eight people. In Seven-card stud poker, each player is dealt with seven cards, and the aim of the game is to form the best five-card combination using any of the seven cards dealt. The player to form the best combination is declared as the winner.
Seven-card stud poker is a classic poker game. The most important thing to remember when learning this game is that you get 7 cards to make your final 5 card hand, and you don’t have to use any specific ones, just whichever 5 make the highest hand.
Bring-ins and Antes
Seven Card Stud does not include any blinds. Instead, players have to pay an ante at the start of every new hand. Each player is dealt 2 cards face-down (downcards) and 1 card face-up (upcard). There is a forced bet called a “bring-in”. The player with the worst upcard (the 2 of clubs is the worst possible), at the start of each hand, must post this compulsory bet.
First Betting Round – Third Street
Firstly, an ante is collected from each player and then the first 2 cards (technically 1st and 2nd Streets) are dealt face-down; a third card – called 3rd Street – is dealt face-up. The bring-in (player with worst upcard) is first to act, and they must put in the minimum bet or “complete” to the lower limit stake. Action continues around the table with players being able to fold, complete or raise (if there is a prior completion).
Note that the completion is not considered a raise. For example, in a $10/$20 the lowcard (bring-in) opens for $5. If the next player increases the bet to $15 (completes the bet), up to three raises are then allowable.
Second Betting Round – Fourth Street
During 4th Street, another card is dealt face up to each active player. The table stakes are still set at the lower limit. Good news for the bring-in: First to act is no longer the player with the worst upcard! The player with the best upcards gets that honour. Action continues clockwise around the table with players being able to check, bet, call, raise (capped at 4 x table stakes in a limit format) or fold – depending on the prior action.
Third Betting Round – Fifth Street
On 5th Street, the minimum bet is raised to the upper table stakes limit. Time to start building the pot! This card is also dealt face-up. Again, first to act is the player with the best upcards. Action continues around the table with players being able to check, bet, call, raise (capped at 4 x table stakes) or fold – depending on the previous action.
Fourth Betting Round – Sixth Street
By the time 6th Street is dealt, each player remaining active in the hand should have 4 cards face-up, and two face-down (“in the hole”). First to act is still the player with the best cards/ hand showing. Players can check, bet, call, raise (capped at 4 x upper table stakes) or fold – depending on the prior action. But, if you don’t have the makings of a hand by now, we suggest you might want to fold.
Fifth Betting Round – Seventh Street
During the 5th betting round (also called the River), players are still able to check, bet, call, raise or fold. Now it’s time for the Showdown, as long as 2 or more players remain. At this stage, the player with the best 5-card hand, according to the standard hand ranking system, will win the pot.
Note that a hand with more than seven cards is dead. A hand with less than seven cards at the showdown is also considered dead. There is an exception where any player missing a seventh card may have the hand ruled live.
Also, if there are more players left on the river than cards in the deck, the does not burn, so that each player can receive a fresh card. A common or community card will be dealt face-up in the centre of the table for all active players in the hand to use. The player who is now high using the common card starts the action in the last round.
Even though 7 Card Stud features 7 cards dealt to each player by the river, at showdown, only 5 cards on a player’s individual board can be used to make the best 5-card hand. The hand rankings are exactly the same as in Texas Hold’em, with a Royal Flush being the best possible hand and High Card being the worst.
Not that, suits don’t count in the Stud Poker Hand Ranking system except for deciding the bring-in, where Clubs are the worst, Diamonds are third, Hearts are second best and Spades rank top.