7 Card Stud Poker Guide / Rules

About 7 Card Stud Poker
One of the olds poker games in the world, 7-card stud is played at tables world-wide. It is easy to learn and lots of fun. Each player receives two cards, face down, called the hole cards, and one card, called the door card, face up. The dealer distributes three more cards, face up, to each player and one more card face down.

The player who holds the highest five-card poker hand walks away with the pot. It is almost as simply as that, but there are some key concepts you want to understand before sitting down to a 7-card stud table. Let's begin with the basics.

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Basic Rules

Antes: Before any cards are dealt during each hand, every player that wishes to play that hand must place a bet called 'the ante'. The ante bets are incentives for players to remain in the hadn and to build the pot.

The Stakes:

7-card stud games have defined stakes which preset the amount of bets and raises during each betting round. If you play online, you'll notice the stakes clearly posted so that you can select the table stakes that appeal to you and your bankroll. During the first two rounds of betting, the bets and raises are limited to the lower of the two amounts, the small stake, and the large stake amount is used for the last three betting rounds. If the stakes are posted as $5/$10, this means that during the first two rounds of wagering, the bets and raises must be exactly $5, not more or less. During the last three wagering rounds, the bets and raises must be exactly $10.

The Cap:

Each wagering round consists of one bet and a maximum of three raises. The cap is just a term for the maximum number of raises. If a bet has been raised three times, the only options available to players are to fold or call. There is one exception: if there are only two players remaining in a hand, the cap is raised to a maximum of five raises.

Game Action

It's almost time to begin playing some 7-Card Stud. You know what stakes you want to choose, you've selected a table and taken your position. What happens next?

The Ante! All players must put money in the post as their ante. You have to pay to play.

The Pocket and the Door:

The dealer deals two cards (the pocket), face down, to each player. Then one card (the door) is dealt face up to every player. The first round of betting is about to begin with the bring-in.

The Bring-In:

The player showing the lowest card must place the "bring-in" into the pot. This is a mandatory wager, usually one-half the amount of the small stake. The bring-in player may, however, choose to increase their bring-in to the full amount of the small stake.

If two players both show the same door card, suit rankings are used to decide which card is weakest. The ranks of the suits, best to weakest, are: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs.

The bring-in is used much like an ante; it encourages players to remain in a hand, and it builds the pot total.

To remain in the hand, all players must call, raise or fold to the bring-in bet. Betting begins with the player seated to the bring-in bettor's left and continues in a clockwise motion. If the bring-in opens with one-half the low stake, the first raise will "complete" the bring-in, raising it to the small stake limit. Any raises from that point forward must be equal to the small stake amount.

So, at our $5/$10 table, if a player brings-in with $2, and you want to raise him, you must raise $3, completing the bring-in. Now, any player that raises after you must raise $5. It may sound a little confusing, but it isn't once you begin practice play.

Third Street:

After the bring-in round of betting has been completed, every player who remains in the hand is dealt a card with the face showing, called "third street". At this point, the highest showing hand gets to open the wagering round. If a pair is showing on any hand at third street, the player holding the pair may double his or her bet amount and "raise the state" for this betting round. If this does not happen, the bets and raises are limited to the amount of the small stake.

Back to the example of the $5/$10 game; your two face-up cards show a pair. You now have the option of doubling the bet to $10, and if you do, all subsequent raises have to be the upper stake limit of $10. If you do not to double, the bet/raise amount remains at $5 for this round of wagering.

Fourth Street:

After third street betting is completed, another face-up card is dealt to each player, and the high hand showing opens the betting round. For this round and the final two rounds following this round, bets and raises must be equal to the higher stake ($10 in a $5/$10 game).

Fifth Street:

The dealer deals each player a fourth face up card, and high hand showing opens the fifth street betting round. This is part of the last three rounds; therefore the bet amount continues to equal to the higher stake ($10 in our $5/$10 game).

The River:

The final card is dealt to each player face down, making a total of 7 cards in each player's hand. Final betting begins with the highest showing hand. The River bets remain limited to the upper stake ($10 in our $5/$10 game).

If 8 Players Remain in the Hand: If this is a long-handed game with 8 players, you can see that there will not be enough cards. 7 cards * 8 players equals 56 cards...more cards than are in the deck! In this special circumstance, if all 8 players remain in the game at the river, the dealer must flip a single community card in the middle of the table, which can be used by all 8 players to fill their hand.

The Showdown:

The bets have been called; it's time to pay the winner. The last player to bet or raise during the final betting round (the river) will show their hand first. If all the other players checked through (nobody bet) on the river, the player to the left of the dealer must show first. The remaining players' hands will be revealed moving clockwise, unless a hand is weaker than the winning hand shown.

In this case, the weaker hand has an option to show, or muck (fold without showing). The best five-card hand takes the pot. If you are not familiar or certain about poker hand rankings, be sure to review the Hand Rankings page.

Buying the pot:

If, during any betting round, you place a bet and all the other players fold to you, you've "bought the pot". You have the option to show or muck your cards.

Playing is the best way to learn and fully understand 7-card stud or any other poker game, so it's time to go try your luck! There are multiple sites that support 7 Card stud poker games online. The number of active players will vary from one site to the next. A high traffic poker site will have a wide selection of tables than the small poker rooms. It's best to shop around and check out the games first before making a deposit.

Limit Poker Strategy Guide:

Strategy Article 1. Limit Holdem - Flush Draws

Strategy Article 2. Limit Holdem - Playing Middle or Bottom Pairs on the Flop

Strategy Article 3. Limit Holdem - Straight Draws

Strategy Article 4. Limit Holdem Playing Flops

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