Seven Card Stud is one of the most popular poker variants, and can be found at the majority of online poker rooms. Before the poker boom, Seven Card Stud was perhaps the most popular variant in the USA, while Five Card Draw dominated in Europe. The game differs from Texas Holdem and Pot Limit Omaha in that there are no community cards which all players can use to make their hand. Instead, each player is dealt his own personal up-cards which he must use to make his hand.
Fixed limit Seven Card Stud is part of the popular mixed game rotation H.O.R.S.E, as well as some online mixed game rotations.
Playing a Seven Card Stud Hand
Seven Card Stud is normally played as a fixed betting limit game where players may only bet or raise in increments of the betting limit which applies at the time. Typically early streets feature a pre-defined ‘small bet’ and later streets allow a ‘big bet’ which is normally twice the small bet. The action is usually capped at a bet and three raises on each betting round, or street. Once the cap is reached, action proceeds on to the next street with no further betting allowed.
Action in the hand starts with all players paying a small amount known as an ante into the pot, which is typically a fraction of the small bet. The dealer then deals each player two cards face down and one card face up (known as the door card), in a clockwise direction, one card at a time. The player with the lowest ranked card showing must then pay the bring-in, which is a bet that is a small multiple of the ante. He also has the option to complete his bet to the amount of the small bet. If more than player has the same ranked door card, the bring-in is decided by suit, where spades is strongest, followed by clubs, diamonds and hearts.
Action then moves clockwise around the table with each player having the option to complete, raise, or fold. This betting round is known as Third Street. When the action is complete and two or more players remain in the hand, we move on to Fourth Street. If a player makes a raise which goes un-called, or it is folded around to the bring-in, then they win the pot as the last player remaining.
To begin Fourth Street, all remaining players are dealt another up-card. The betting on this street starts with the player with the best two-card poker hand showing (a pair of Aces would be the best possible hand showing at this point). Each player has the option to check or bet if there has been no action in front of them, or to call, raise or fold if they are facing a bet. Once the action on Fourth Street is complete, we move on to Fifth Street.
On Fifth Street, each player receives another up-card and the action again begins on the player with the best poker hand showing. The only difference between Fourth and Fifth Street is that from Fifth Street onwards, the betting limit changes to the big bet, which applied for the rest of the hand. As stated, the big bet is typically twice the small bet.
Sixth Street sees each player receive another up-card and there is another round of betting. Seventh Street is the fifth and final round of the hand. Each player is dealt a final card face down, and the betting begins with the player who had the betting lead on Sixth Street. If all players check, or if the final bet has at least one caller, the hand goes to a showdown, players must turn over their hole cards and use five of the seven cards to make their final poker hand. The winner is determined by the standard poker hand rankings. If all players check, they must showdown in a clockwise direction starting with the player to the left of the dealer. If there has been betting action, the last aggressor must show down first.