Updated In May, 2013 - One of the oldest poker variants in the world, the traditional game of 7 Card Stud remains one of the most popular poker variants to date. Found in excess at live casino card rooms and online poker rooms alike, 7 Card Stud is easy to learn, exciting to play, but painstaking to master. Below you will find the rules of 7 card stud along with information on game play. Since H.O.R.S.E poker includes three stud poker variants and most other mixed poker games include at least one it is essential that you understand how to play Stud and the basic strategies and tactics. Starting with basics 7 card stud is a good choice and it will make learning Stud H/L and Razz much easier. Listed below are all of the mixed poker games that include 7 card stud.
How to Play 7 Card Stud - Fundamentals
Decks: One standard 52-card deck
Limits: Fixed Limit (No Limit and Pot Limit are rare at best)
Forced Bets: Ante and Bring-In
A Fixed Limit betting structure limits the amount a player can bet or raise at any time throughout a hand, in respects to the stakes of the game. 7 Card Stud consists of 5 betting rounds. So, for instance, if the stakes are $2/$4, during the fist two betting rounds, bets/raises must mirror the small bet, doubling to match the big bet in the final three rounds of betting.
Ante Bet: The Ante is a forced bet placed by every player before the initial deal. The Ante may vary from one card room to another, but is typically 10-25% of the small bet.
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Bring-In Bet: After the initial deal, each player will have one face up card, called the Door Card. The player with the highest Door Card placed the forced Bring-In Bet, equal to 50% of the small bet. In case of a tie for highest Door Card, the highest suit places the Bring-In. Suits rank alphabetically - Club, Diamond, Heart, Spade - with Spade being the highest.
How to Play 7 Card Stud - Objective
The object of 7 Card Stud is to develop the strongest possible 5-card poker hand, according to traditional poker hand ranks. The player with the highest ranking hand at the Showdown wins the entire pot. If all other players Fold before the Showdown, the remaining play instantly wins the current pot.
How to Play 7 Card Stud - Game Play
We'll now walk you through a hand to help you better understand how to play 7 Card Stud. We'll be using a Fixed Limit betting structure with $2/$4 stakes and a 25% Ante.
The game begins as each player posts the Ante Bet. Starting with the player to the dealer's left, and continuing clockwise, each player is dealt one card at a time until all have 3 cards. the first two cards are dealt as face down Hole Cards, with the final card dealt face up - the Door Card.
First Betting Round: The player with the highest Door Card places the Bring-In bet to start the first round of betting. Betting continues clockwise until all players have acted. All bets/raises must match the small bet of $2 at this time.
4th Street: Players are dealt a fourth, face up card.
Second Betting Round: For the rest of the hand, all betting rounds will begin with the player showing the highest Open Hand (face up cards only). The lowest possible hand at this point is A-2.
5th Street: Players are dealt a fifth, face up card.
Third Betting Round: All bets/raises now double to equal the big bet of $4.
6th Street: Players are dealt a sixth, face up card.
Fourth Betting Round: Another round of betting, same as the last.
7th Street: Players will receive their seventh and final card, this time face down. Note that it is possible to run out of cards at this point. If 8 players participate and none fold there will not be enough cards to deal the 7th Street. Instead, a single Community Card is dealt face up to take the place of everyone's 7th Street.
Fifth Betting Round: This is the final round of betting, handled in the same fashion as the previous round.
Showdown: All active players will reveal their best 5-card poker hand, using the 7 cards available to them. The player with the strong poker hand rank wins the pot.