7 Card StudThe Basics
Number of Players 2-8
Of all the stud games, 7-Card Stud is the most popular. This is due to the high stakes that are involved as well as the technique. Unlike Holdem and Omaha there are many cards for players to consider on the table. Thus, in 7-Card Stud how a player reacts to their own and their opponents cards, ultimately has an impact on their odds.
7-Card Stud consists of 5 betting rounds, with the max bet doubling on either the 2nd or 3rd betting round. Each player has a total of 7 cards, 3 hole cards and 4 door cards. They can use any combination of their cards to create a final 5-card hand for the pot.
Terminology and Facts
Dealer Button ("Button","Buck","Puck")
This is a device that is used in online poker rooms to mark the dealer among the players for each hand. The dealer button is a small disk that is marked with the letter "D". The dealer button is not only essential to the players so they know who is dealing, but also because the two players to the left of the dealer must post the two blinds in the game. After the completion of each hand, the dealer button moves to the left.
This is an amount that is determined by the card room that each player must put in the pot before they can receive any cards. The ante varies depending on the stakes at a table. Furthermore, all antes that are paid are not recognized as part of any bets that occur during the hand.
A term used for the various betting stages that occur throughout the hand as players receive their cards. This is the term for betting due to the fact that betting commences on 3rd street and ends at 7th street.
Also known as "pocket cards", hole cards are those dealt to each player and are face down, so that only the player can see these cards.
All cards belonging to a player that are placed face up on the table are known as door cards. In addition, door card also happens to be another term used for 3rd street.
This is the last card dealt in the hand, and is also another term for 7th Street.
This is a small starting bet that the player with lowest exposed card is required to put into the pot. (Note: in 7-Card Stud the suit of card matters. From highest to lowest the order of suits are Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs. Therefore, if two players have the same lowest face value card, the suit determines the lowest card)
The betting structure is the same for every table. The only aspect that will change is the amount of money involved, which will correspond to the stakes for the table you choose to play at. For the purpose of this chart we will use the $10/$20 table example:
(Note: The higher bet option occurs if a pair is showing)
7-Card Stud In Action
Ante and the Bring-In - Let the game begin
To begin the game an ante is first placed on the table by every player. Remember, usually the amount is only a fraction of a bet that is set by the card room.
The dealer then deals 3 cards - 2 hole cards and 1 door card - starting with the player on their left and continuing clockwise round the table. The player who has the lowest card showing on the table must place the bring-in bet, which is equal to half of the lower level bet.
3rd Street - 1st Round of Betting
In this betting round each player, with the possible exception of the bring-in player who has already contributed the bring-in amount, may either choose to fold (quit the game), call (meet the bet) or raise, increasing the bring-in to a full bet. If players still left in the round choose to only call the bring-in amount, then the player who originally contributed the bring-in is the only player who has the option to check (stay in the game without calling or raising) their own amount.
The ante in a $10/$20 game as mentioned above would usually be $1, and the bring-in bet $5. The full bet at 3rd street is $10. (Note: During 3rd Street, players can not bet or raise more than the lower level limit).
4th Street - 2nd Round of Betting
During this round the game really starts to take shape as each player is dealt one more door card. Now with 2 cards showing, players have a better idea of not only the potential of their own hand, but also what winning advantages their other opponents have.
Strategies begin taking effect as the player with the highest card value begins the round of betting. The highest card value includes all cards exposed, and could consist of the highest card, pair and so on. If in the event two hands prove to be of equal value, the betting is then commenced by the player who is the closet to the dealers left.
The player with the highest showing hand begins the betting round, and they may either check, fold or raise. If this player chooses to check or fold, the remaining players, following clockwise from that players left may check until a raise has been made.
In Four Street, the lower level bet applies automatically. However, should the highest exposed hand showing consist of a pair, any player in the game has the option of either betting the standard lower limit (in the case of the $10/$20 game that would be $10) or the higher betting limit ($20). If the higher betting limit falls into play, each player still in the hand must call to meet the max bet.
5th Street - 3rd Round of Betting
The dealer deals a 3rd door card to each player, and the excitement continues its climb, as each players exposed hand reveals more details to their opponents at what potential their hidden cards could have.
Players are now faced with another round of betting that follows in the same pattern as 4th street, with the exception that now the max betting limit becomes the rule.
7th Street - 5th and Final Round of Betting
Known also as the river, this final card dealt by the dealer is a hole card, leaving players wondering if luck has run out for their opponents, or if they have instead hit the jackpot. For this final betting round, the player who led the betting round in 6th street commences the betting once more, and it continues as in the previous 5th and 6th streets.
Note: Although uncommon, if many players remain in the hand until 7th Street, their will not be enough cards to provide each player a final hole card. In that case, the dealer will turn up one card on the board, which will be used as a community card among all the remaining players.
Once betting is complete, it is time for the players still left in the hand to kiss their lucky pennies, and make the best possible 5-card hand from their 3 hole cards and 4 door cards.
Each player left in the hand show their cards, beginning with the last player to bet and continuing in that pattern. During the showdown players may also choose to "muck" (fold out of the game, without showing their cards) their hand. The winner naturally takes the pot.
If in the event, a player wins by default, which means that every other player in the hand folded, no showdown will occur, and the winner is given the option to show their cards or not. For the most part, players choose not to show their winning hand, as it adds to the drama of the game, and keeps the other opponents guessing what their great hand was.
Although there are many strategies that you can learn when playing 7-Card Stud Poker, the following are a few helpful, basic tips you can apply to your game:
1. Any starting pair that is over 10 is typically worth wagering on. However, keep an eye out for an opponent who is betting aggressively. This could mean that they have a higher pair.
2. If after 6th street one or more of your opponents have an exposed hand that beats your entire hand, it is best to fold and cut your loses while you can.
3. Be wary of 5th Street. It is during this round that you should decide if you want to call it quits or go for the gusto, as this is where the betting limit must increase, and if you are still trying to make a decent hand, it could cost you if the odds are against you.
4. If you are working on trying to make a straight or a flush with your hand, make sure you check the exposed cards of your fellow opponents, to ensure that they don't already posses the cards you need. If they do, you'll then need to reconsider your strategy.
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