How to Play 7 Card Stud

7 Card Stud PokerStud Hi or 7-Card Stud is an older version of poker, many times played in house, that is why many players already know this game.

But what if you don’t know the game? Not a problem! Go through this step by step guide to learn how to play Stud Hi. Let’s say that you already know the poker hand rankings, so we can start going through the Seven-Card Stud poker game playing. We recommend you also practice the game online, for free, before playing for real money. Download a poker client now and register a free account for practicing.

7 Card Stud index

This games is played with a standard 52 card deck, at an 8-handed table. Each new hand of Stud Hi begins with each player putting an ante into the pot. The ante is a payment into the pot before cards are dealt for the purpose of stimulating action. The highest ranked hand is easy to identify: this is formed from any 5 cards a player is handed until the end of the game (3 down-cards and 4 up-cards).

Sitting down

In Stud Hi, as soon as you sit down at the table, you get dealt in immediately, as soon as you put in the ante. Stud Hi does not have blinds, that is why you do not have to wait as in other poker variations to be dealt in.

The deal position in this game does not rotate as in blind games. The nominal dealer position is indicated by a white disk called the stud button. This stud button is always by seat 8, and each new deal always starts at seat 1, clockwise.

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The ante is a share each player must contribute at for the beginning pot. This does not count as blinds (therefore not counting for future bets).

Third Street

On the the first round (known as third street), the betting starts with the player having the lowest up-card. This bet is a forced bet. The bet must be at least a specified minimum, in which case it is called the bring-in, but can be more. The bring-in is usually one-fourth the lower limit. If two or more players have the same rank of up-card, who must make the bring-in is determined by suit, in reverse bridge order (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades).

The player with the lowest up-card has 2 options: open for the bring-in (post the minimum required) or complete the bet (increase the bet to the lower limit). As more players are open for the bring-in, a complete bet could attract many to fold. If all players fold, the one making the complete bet take in all the antes stakes and a new hand is dealt.

All succeeding players after a bring-in have a few options: fold (exit the game without making any other bet), call (match the bring-in), or complete the bet (increase the bring-in to the lower bet limit). If anyone completes the bet, all succeeding players have 3 choices: fold, call (match the complete bet) or raise (an increase of the preceding bet – up to maximum 3 raises are allowed in a betting round for Stud Hi).

Fourth Street

Once the Third Street betting round equalized (when everyone has had an opportunity either to fold or match the total betting), the dealer deals each active player a second up-card (fourth street). Players still in the hand participate in a new round of betting.

Betting on fourth street normally proceeds at the lower limit. There is one exception though, and that is if any board shows an open pair, any player may choose to bet or raise at the higher limit. Once a bet has been made at the higher limit, subsequent raises must be at the higher limit (increments of the higher limit).

In comparison with the 3rd street, on the fourth street (and all successive streets afterwards), the betting starts with the player showing the highest board. If two or more players have the same high board, the betting begins with the player closest to the left of the stud/dealer button. The situation is the same for either 2 players show pairs of same ranking.

Online poker comes with the advantage of letting the software prompt the player when it’s his turn to take action (this way no player have to worry about having to figure out who must start a betting round). On the fourth street, the player that starts the betting round has two options: check (continue without making any bet) or make a bet (the bet will be made at the proper limit round). If anyone bets, all the other players have three choices: fold, call (matching the previous bet) or raise (increase the preceding bet). Starting the fourth street it is possible however that no betting will occur in the round, what is also called as checked round.

Fifth Street

Once the betting for fourth street is equalized (when everyone has had an opportunity either to check/fold or match the total betting for the round), the dealer deals each active player a third up-card (fifth street). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting. The bets on fifth street are always at the higher level, and the betting starts at the table with the player showing the highest board (similar with the fourth street).

Sixth Street

Once the betting for fifth street is equalized, the dealer deals each active player a fourth up-card (sixth street – meaning the sixth card dealt to players). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting. The bets on sixth street remain at the higher level just like in the previous round.

Seventh Street

Once the betting for sixth street is equalized, the dealer deals each active player the final card, face down (seventh street or the river card). Players still in the hand participate in a final round of betting. The betting proceeds exactly the same as the three previous rounds (3th-6th streets).

The Showdown

Once the betting for the seventh street is equalized, the betting is over. Last step of the game is the showdown, where remaining active players show their cards and the best 5 card hand formed from any of the 7 cards of each player has wins the pot. In online poker, the software will determine automatically the best hand at the table and will award the pot to the player.

The showdown takes place in a specified order. The first player to show the cards is the first player to have placed a bet or the last player who raised in any of the previous rounds. That means, that the seventh street was a checked round, the rules for the showdown apply based on the previous round (sixth street) betting. Once the first player shows the cards, the showdown can continue round the table clockwise in a specific process: if the next player to show cards has a better hand or similar in value with the first player, he must show the cards; however if this next player has a lower hand he is not forced to show the cards and has the option to muck the cards.

In online poker you don’t have to worry about misreading your hand or accidentally throwing away your winning cards, the poker software will check all cards automatically, and if you have a winning hand combination, it will make sure you are awarded the pot.

If the betting was not equalized on seventh street, that is, one player bet or raised and no one called, there is no showdown, and the pot is awarded to the player who made that bet. This is the case on any previous street, as well. If it happens on earlier streets/rounds, no further cards are dealt, because the hand is over. That is why, in order to reach the showdown, there must be at least 2 active players left after the seventh street.

If a player runs out of chips before the end of the hand, there will be formed 2 side pots, and in online poker the software will award the appropriate winnings to each player.

If at the showdown, more than one player have a ranked hand as the best (equal hands), the pot will be split among the winning players.

Don’t forget: practice for free the Seven-Card Stud variation just by simply downloading the poker software and opening a free account (regular registration without depositing any real money).

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