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Seven Card Stud Game Variations

By Gary Steele

There are many different takes on the poker game Seven Card Stud. You will not find most of these variations being played at your favorite online poker site, but if you are playing with friends, all of these deviations are fun to try. Eventually there will come a day when online poker sites offer more games. You will see some of these games played then. All of the following explanations assume you know how to play basic Seven Card Stud.

These explanations do not go into the rules, only the variations. Stud is any type of poker where each player is dealt a set number of cards. No draws or community cards are involved. There are many more variations, and you are certainly allowed to make up your own. Most of the variations listed here can also be applied to five card stud with a little imagination. I have listed a few of the most common games.

“Down the River” or “Seven Toes Pete”

These are names for the basic game of Seven Card Stud that you see played in most casinos or online poker rooms.


Very similar to “Down the River,” however the fourth and fifth cards are dealt face up at the same time. This cuts out one round of betting.

“High Low Stud”

High Low is a common variations sometime found at online poker rooms. High Low is not a variation on the way the game is played, it is simply a change in the way the pot is split at the end of the hand. In High Low, the player with the highest hand and the player with the Lowest hand split the pot evenly. In order for a low hand to “Qualify” to receive its share of the pot, the hand must not contain any card above an eight. Straights and Flushes are not counted against the Low hand, but are still counted for the High hand.


This variation was always a favorite around my house when growing up. Cards are dealt normally. All Threes and Nines are wild (can be considered any card in the deck). Any time a Four is dealt face-up to a player, that player immediately receives an extra card.

“Low Card Wild”

This variation makes the lowest Face Down card in each player’s hand wild. This is an interesting variation since the Seventh (last) card dealt often changes the wild card for a player.

“Pass The Trash”

In this variation players are dealt all seven cards face down to start the hand. A round of betting follows. Players then choose any three cards in their hand and pass them to the left, followed by a final round of betting.

“No Peek” or “Your Up”

All players are dealt seven cards face down and do not look at them. The player to the left of the dealer turns up his or her first card and bets. The next player turns up cards until the previous player is beat and bets. When a player turns all seven cards and is unable to beat the previous hand that player is out. This continues until the last player folds. Not much strategy involved in this variation, but it can be amusing.

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