Seven Card Stud Poker
Seven Card Stud
is the most common form of Stud poker which had once held the title of being the most popular poker game in the US. And despite the fact that Texas Hold'em
has now become the most widely spread poker variation, Stud is still considerably popular, especially at the East Coast. Seven Card Stud can be played by two to eight players each of them receiving seven cards – three closed and four open. The goal of the game is to make the best possible five-card combination by using the cards the players receive.
Stud is usually played with antes. Before any cards are dealt on the table, each player makes the obligatory bet of the predetermined value, which is usually 1/5 of the small bet. Ante has no relation to the subsequent bets and the players cannot receive their cards if they haven't made this contribution.
As soon as antes are collected the dealer issues three cards to each Stud poker player clockwise. The first two cards are dealt face-down whereas the third one – face-up. The player with the lowest open card must post the bring-in (half of the small bet) or finish the bet (to post the full small bet). For example, if the game is $4-8 Limit Stud, the bring-in is $2 or $4. Should two or more players receive the lowest card of the same value, the bring-in is decided according to the suit of the cards. The lowest suit in Seven Card Stud is Clubs, followed by Diamonds, Hearts and Spades. Therefore the 2 of Clubs is the lowest possible card.
Bring-in is considered to be a bet, therefore if none of the players decide to raise, the one to make the bring-in does not have to contribute any additional bets. Should any of the players, however, make a raise, the bring-in will be considered as a part of a new bet, if the player decides to call.
There are five betting rounds
in Seven Card Stud poker. The game is played only in the structure of fixed limits. Bets and raises in the last three betting rounds are two times higher than those of the first two betting rounds. To continue with the last example, in the game of $4-8 Limit Stud, the bets and raises in the first two betting rounds have to be equal to $4, whereas in the final three – $8. Most of the casinos and online poker
rooms usually allow a bet an three raises during one betting round.
The first betting round (Third Street)
In Stud poker the betting rounds are often called “the streets
”, starting with the third and all the way to the seventh street. Before the start of the third street, every player gets three cards – two hole and one face-up. The bring-in decides whether they want to make a half of the bet or the whole minimum bet. Then the players starting from the one sitting next to the bring-in, make their moves clockwise – they can fold, call or raise. If the bring-in equals half of the bet, then the first raise can only make the bet full. So if there is $2 committed to the pot, the first raise will be $4. If the fist bet is full – $4, with the start of the betting round all the upcoming raises will rise by $4.
Should the player decide to fold their cards, they turn the open ones face-down and put them in the middle of the table. When all the bets and raises are finished, the “fourth street” begins.
One more open card is being dealt to each player. The first to act is the player with the highest open hand. Therefore the player who makes the first move is the one who has the highest pair. If there are no pairs, the two highest cards determine who's the first to act. The player, given the right to make the first move in the particular Stud poker betting round can either check or make a bet. If they decide to bet, they must contribute the full minimum bet. If the player checks, the move goes to the next player clockwise. However, if the first acting player has an open-card pair, they as well as the rest of the players, gain the right to make an additional bet equal to the full maximum bet. For example, in a game of $4-8 Limit Stud the player receives AA as their first two cards. The opponent can check or make a bet of $4 or $8.
Otherwise all the bets must be equal to the full minimum limit. Should two or more players get the same two cards, the suite of their highest card determines the one to make the first move. The suite strength is the same: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs. As soon as the betting round finishes, the “fifth street” begins.
The fifth street is dealt face-up to all the remaining players of the Stud poker game. The routine is the same as in the previous round – the highest hand starts. The only difference is that in this and all the upcoming rounds, the bets and raises must already consist of the full high limit. Therefore, in the $4-8 Limit Stud game all the bets and raises in the remaining betting rounds will increase by $8.
When all the bets are made, the “sixth street” starts.
The sixth card is open and is being dealt to all the remaining players. The game continues the same way as the fifth street, with the highest open hand beginning the round. All the bets and raises must be made according to the high limit.
The seventh card is dealt face-down to each player individually. The player with the best hand starts the game. All the bets and raises must be equal to the high limit. If after the seventh street all the eight players are still in the game, there will be not enough cards in the deck for all of them to receive the last hole card. In such a case only one open card is dealt on the table and every player is free to use it in their five-card combinations. However, this is a rather seldom occurrence.
Every Stud poker player who did not fold their cards before the end of the betting round on the seventh street has the right to reveal their best five-card combination and claim for the pot. The last player to make the bet or raise has to show their cards first. The rest of the showdown is done clockwise with the players either revealing their cards or folding. The one with the highest card combination collects the pot. It is also possible, although uncommon, that two players collect the same combination and have to split the pot in half.