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Seven Card Stud Poker Rules

By Gary Steele

No matter what variation of poker you play there is one thing every poker game has in common; hand ranking. Before you play any poker game it is important to know the Poker Hand Rankings in order from best to worst. At the end of the poker hand, the player with the five card combination ranked highest on the Poker Hand Ranking list wins. Outside of these simple rules you will find many variations of games available to play.

There are three main variations of poker you can find in any online poker room. Anywhere you go you will find Hold’em, Seven Card Stud, and Omaha. Hold’em and Omaha are very similar but Seven Card Stud is a game unto itself. The strategy, game play, and game flow are much different. It is important to familiarize yourself with these differences before sitting down to play.

Basic Description

Seven Card Stud is a variation of poker where every player at the table receives three cards to start the hand. Two of these cared are face down and one is face up for all players to see. After a round of bets by all players, another card is dealt face up to each player. This process of betting and dealing a card face up happens two more times until each player that has not folded has 4 cards face up on the table and two hole cards face down. After another round of betting each player receives their final card face down. At this point each player has 7 total cards and a fifth, and final, round of betting takes place. Then the players show their hands and each player selects five of their seven cards to make the best possible hand. The player with the best five card hand according to the Hand Ranking Chart wins the money in the pot.

Betting and the Ante

Seven Card Stud can be played with or without an ante (a fixed amount of money each player puts in the pot before the cards are dealt). When I was growing up playing with friends, betting always started to the left of the dealer, but today’s games are played with a slight twist. The player with the lowest face up card is forced to make the first bet. This bet can be anywhere from one half to the full amount of the previously established opening bet depending on game rules. If two players tie with the lowest numerical card then the player with the lowest suit alphabetically pays the forced bet. This makes the two of clubs the lowest card in the deck, followed by the two of diamonds, then hearts, then spades. The player to the left of the forced bettor is the first one that gets the chance to either raise, fold, or call. This structure is only used on the first betting round. On all subsequent betting rounds, the player showing the best face up hand has the option to bet first and then play proceeds to the left.

Betting limits in each round for Seven Card Stud differ depending where you play, so make sure you understand them before you sit down at a table. A typical $1/$2 table will allow each player to bet or raise $1 on the first and second round of betting, then $2 on the final three rounds of betting. As I said, table rules differ vastly. Some tables increase the bet on the second round of betting, other tables allow $4 bets on the final round. It is important to make sure you understand the betting and ante structure of the table before you throw your money on the table.

Example of Play

If you were involved in a typical hand of Seven Card Stud at a $1/$2 table your experience may go something like this:

  1. You are dealt Ace, King of spades down and Seven of spades face up;
  2. The player to your left has the lowest face up card (a 4 of diamonds) and is forced to bet fifty cents (assuming this table has a forced ante of one half of the normal bet);
  3. You and two others call the $1 first round minimum bet and everyone else folds. Keep in mind that they player who was forced to bet fifty cents would have had to pay an additional fifty cents to stay in the hand;
  4. The forth card is dealt face up to all players, you get King of Clubs;
  5. Another player has an Ace face up and checks to you;
  6. You bet $1 on your pair of Kings, the other two players call;
  7. The fifth card is dealt face up to all players, you get the 4 of spades;
  8. You are showing two 4’s so you lead the betting, you bet $2;
  9. One of the players folds, the other with the Ace calls your $2 bet;
  10. The sixth card is dealt face up to both players, you get 3 of Clubs;
  11. Your pair of 4’s are still high, you bet $2;
  12. Your opponent calls your $2 and raises you $2;
  13. You pay the $2 to see your final card;
  14. The seventh card is dealt face down, you receive the 9 of spades, giving you a Flush in spades (Ace, King, 9, 7, 4), but you check expecting your opponent to bet;
  15. Your opponent bets $2, you raise $2, your opponent calls.

Now the two of you show your facedown cards. Your opponent shows two pair, Aces and Jacks. Since your Flush beats his Two Pair on the Hand Ranking Chart you win the money in the pot.

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