How to Play 7-Card Stud

7 card stud is a different poker game compared to what’s popular nowadays. For one thing it’s not a flop or community game like holdem or omaha. Each player is dealt their own cards, 4 of which can be seen by everyone at the table. The pace of the game is much slower in comparison, too.

Although 7 card stud isn’t a popular game on its own, it is apart of most mixed game rotations which have been increasing in popularity over the last couple of years. So it’s a good game to learn how to play, even if you don’t want to play it by itself.

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7 Card Stud Game Play

Here is an overview of the game of 7 card stud.

Post Antes

7 card stud is not played with blinds, but with antes instead. Antes are posted by each player before the cards are dealt. Antes are usually 10% of the small bet.

3rd Street

The first round to be played in 7 card stud is 3rd street. After the antes have been posted the cards are dealt one card at a time clockwise around the table. The first two cards are dealt faced down, and the 3rd card (the door card) is dealt face up.

After the cards are dealt the first betting round will start. It’ll start with the player who has the lowest door card. This player is the “bring in,” and has to make a bet the size of the antes. Alternatively, this player can “complete,” which is making the small bet instead.

Then each player will have a turn to act. They can fold, call or raise. Action continues clockwise around the table until each person has acted.

3rd street will end if one of two things happen:

  • All but one player folds. That player will win the hand and the pot.
  • Two or more players are left in the hand once the betting is complete. These players will move on to 4th street.

4th Street

4th street begins with each player being dealt one card face up.

The betting round will begin with the player who has the most valuable hand showing (instead of lowest like on 3rd street). Players have the option to check, call, bet or fold depending on the action in front of them.

Action continues clockwise until all remaining players have acted.

5th Street

The action on 5th street is identical to 4th street with one exception. The exception is that the big bet is used instead of the small bet.

6th Street

6th street is identical to 5th street.

7th Street

7th street is different than the other streets as this card is dealt faced down. The betting action is the same as previous streets, though, beginning with the player who has the most valuable 4 card hand showing.

7 Card Stud Showdown

After the betting round the remaining players will need to flip up their hands to determine who the winner is. The winning hand will consist of only 5 cards (two are dead). The pot is then awarded, cards are reshuffled and antes will be reposted. A new hand will start.

What Hands Win in 7 Card Stud

7 card stud uses standard hand rankings to determine the winning hand. From best hand to worst:

  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • 4 of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • 3 of a Kind
  • 2 Pair
  • 1 Pair
  • High Card

Pots will be split in case of a tie. Suits are not used to break ties.

7 Card Stud Hi/Lo

7 card stud hi/lo, also known as 8 or better, is the same game except that instead of only a high hand being able to win at showdown, a low hand consisting of 5 cards of A-8 can win, too.

In most cases the pot will be split amongst the high and lo hand, although it is possible for one hand to win both pots, also known as scooping the pot. An example of a winning hi/lo hand would be a wheel, A-2-3-4-5. The straight would win the hi hand, and the A-5 is the best lo hand that can be made.

Keep in mind that low hands are counted from the top down. For example, a A-2-3-6-7 is worse than a A-3-4-5-6 hand.

Pots can also be split multiple ways. For example, if two high hands qualify and 2 low hands qualify, the pot would be split 4 ways.

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7 Card Stud Betting

Betting can be confusing for players since the minimum amounts change halfway through the hand, not to mention that 7 card stud uses fixed betting, which most players accustomed to holdem and omaha aren’t probably used to.

Here is a rundown of how the betting works in 7 card stud (using $2 and $4 for examples of small and big bets):

  • Antes are 10% of the small bet. So (using my examples) each player would need to ante $.20. The bring in is (usually) the same.
  • The first two betting rounds (3rd and 4th street) use the small bet. All bets (and if the bring in completes) is $2, as well as all raises.
  • 5th thru 7th street use the big bet ($4).
  • All raises are in increments of 1 (small or big) bet. For example, if the small bet is $2 then a raise would be to $4, then to $6, then $8 and so on.
  • Most stud games have a betting cap – usually one bet and 3 raises. Once the cap has been reached the only option is to call or fold.