January, 2015 - Seven Card Stud is a challenging poker variation that has been popular in the United States for a long time. The 7 Card Stud rules used by online poker sites may not be exactly what you are used to so please take your time to read this. The game is played at home, at brick and mortar casinos and is also quite popular at online poker sites. While the game has taken somewhat of a backseat to Texas hold’em and other community poker games in the past, an increase in the number of players looking to add a little variety to their game has caused a surge in the popularity of Seven Card Stud. This article will cover set up and basic play for Seven Card Stud. I have included links to our 7 Card Stud strategy guides as well as pages about playing Stud poker online below.
Seven Card Stud is usually played with between four and eight players and a standard deck of fifty two cards. Unlike Texas hold’em, Seven Card Stud uses antes rather than blinds. Before each player is dealt cards, they must put an ante into the pot. This is a forced bet that everyone at the table must make. Antes vary depending on the limit of the game you are playing. Usually an ante is between five and ten percent of the games large bet. For example, if you are playing $5/$10 Seven Card Stud, the ante most likely would be one dollar.
After each player has placed their ante, the dealer gives each player one card at a time until everyone has three cards. The first two cards are dealt face down, while the third card is dealt face up. This portion of the hand is called third street. Face up cards in Seven Card Stud are individual cards for each player, they are not community cards. Once the cards are dealt, the player with the lowest up card is forced to make a bring in bet. If there is a tie for the lowest card, the tie is broken by suit. Clubs is the strongest, followed by diamonds, hearts and then spades as the weakest. The bring in bet is usually about half of the small bet in the game. After the bring in bet has been made, play continues around the table in a clockwise motion. Each player has the option of folding, calling or raising. Raises at this point in the game are at the low betting amount, so in our example game, it would be $5. Play continues until all players have had the opportunity to act.
During fourth street, the dealer gives each player another face up card, play then begins with the player who has the highest showing poker hand. Play continues as normal in a clockwise motion until all players have acted. Bets and raises during fourth street are of the small betting amount.
Fifth street play is identical to fourth street in that all players receive an additional face up card and then play begins with the player who has the highest showing poker hand. The only difference is that from fifth street on, betting and raising must now be done at the large bet level, so in this example game it would be $10. Once all players have had the chance to act, the dealer gives all remaining players another face up card to begin sixth street. This is the last face up card players will receive. Play again begins with the highest hand and rotates clockwise from that point. Once all players have acted, play moves onto the final round called the river and the showdown
In the last round of play, the dealer gives all remaining players one final card face down. Play begins with the player who has the highest ranking poker hand. Once all players have had the chance to act, there is a showdown. The last player to bet or raise must reveal their cards first and then all challenging players can choose to either muck their hand in the event that cannot win, or they can reveal their hand if it is powerful enough to take the pot. The dealer then determines the winning hand and awards the player the pot. It is possible to run out of cards in Stud. If this happens the dealer will place the 7th in the middle of the table and it will be a community card that can be used by every player.
As I already mentioned the rules of Seven-Card Stud poker may be different from what you are used to. At my home poker games we play games that are similar to the Stud poker found online but there are some differences. The ante system used by online poker sites will probably be new to most poker players. If you are new to playing 7 Card Stud online you should sit down at a play money table first just to get used to online play. Two of these are USA friendly poker rooms in 2014. Bovada.lv and Carbon are also US casinos and US sportsbooks.
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