Seven Card Stud Poker Rules
Seven Card Stud is one the classic poker games that has roots back to the very first poker games ever played. Unfortunately the game has taken a back seat to the popularity of Hold'em poker and Omaha poker. However, thanks to the rising popularity of HORSE poker and the fact that many standard Hold'em players are looking for something different, more and more players are migrating over to the old standby, Seven Card Stud.
Seven Card Stud Basic Strategy
Out of the seven cards dealt to a player in Seven Card Stud, only five will make up a winning hand. Before a round can begin, each player at the table must place an ante in the pot, this amount is usually a small amount relative to the blinds that is meant to create a pot and guaranteed action since there are no forced blinds in this game as opposed to Hold'em and Omaha.
Seven Card Stud Betting Rounds
After each player has placed their ante into the pot, they are dealt three cards. Two of them are face down and one is face up, the face up card is often referred to as the "door card" because the other players can see this card. The player with the lowest door card is now required to place a "bring in" bet. This amount varies by game but is typically half of the small bet in the game (In the case of a 4/8 game, this would be $2). They also have the choice to "complete" the bet, which would be to place $4 in chips as their bet. Players acting after that may either call or raise accordingly as the action moves clockwise around the table.
There is one more round where each player is dealt a door card (4th street) and checks/calls/bets/raises. The next cards (5th street) are dealt face up as well but the minimum bets are now higher ($8 in the the 4/8 example we gave earlier). 6th street is dealt exposed as well, followed by checks, bets, calls, or raises.
The final round of cards is dealt face down and after all action is complete, the players will show their cards. If there is no action and it's checked down, the players may show their cards in clockwise formation. In Stud, the cards "speak" so even if you're unsure of your hand you may simply turn them up. It's considered good form to separate out your best five card hand however when playing live but not required.
In the case of two players holding a flush, the winning hand will be determined by the highest card on the end of the flush, if they're the same (nine high) for example, they are ranked by suit which are (from lowest to highest) clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades. This same system is used if two players have the same low door card on the first round, with the lowest ranking suit having the bring in bet.
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