The Professor’s Guide to Playing Seven Card Stud, or the Rules of Seven Card Stud
October 5, 2022

One of the earliest variations of poker that is still played by both poker fans and pros is seven-card stud. 7-Card Stud is frequently played at home as well as in real-world casinos and internet poker rooms.

Although Fixed Limit is the most popular variation and is what I’ll be focusing on in this article, 7 Card Stud may be played in Fixed Limit, No Limit, and Pot Limit formats. Stud employs a single, conventional 52-card deck, and the number of participants each game can range from 2 to 8.

The 7 Card Stud object

Each participant in 7 Card Stud receives 7 cards during the course of the hand to use in order to construct the strongest 5-card poker hand.

The other 4 cards are handed face up so that everyone can see them, while the other 3 cards are dealt face down so that only the player can see them.

You may only utilize the cards handed to you; there are no “community” or shared cards dealt in the middle of the table (unlike in Holdem).

At the end of the hand, the pot is won by the hand with the highest rating.

Poker with Fixed Limits: How to Bet

In contrast to Holdem games, which are more frequently played in No Limit (or Pot Limit) formats, Stud is more frequently played in a Fixed Limit format.

Fixed Limit refers to the requirement that all bets and raises be made in relation to the table stakes, for instance at a $1/$2 table, in a predetermined increment.

Bets must be placed in $1 increments for the first two betting rounds (3rd and 4th Street). Bet $1, raise $2, raise $3, and so on.

The last three betting rounds (5th, 6th, and 7th Street) call for bets or increases in $2 increments. Bet $2, raise $4, raise again, etc.

Each betting round is limited to a total of 4 increases.

Antes & Dealer Button

Each hand in Stud Poker starts with the theoretical dealer being indicated by a dealer button. This is significant because it establishes the sequence in which the cards are dealt, with the player on the dealer button’s left receiving the first card.

To ensure that each player has a turn as the “dealer,” the dealer button rotates to the person to the left’s left at the conclusion of each hand.

Each player must put an “ante” into the pot before each hand begins. Since there are so few chips available, every hand has a chance to win some. The ante varies a little but is often 10% to 25% of the low stakes, thus for instance at a $1/$2 stakes table the ante would be about $0.10.

Door and Hole Cards

Each player will get three cards after placing their Ante Bet into the pot.

The player is the only one to see the initial two cards, which are dealt face-down. The “hole cards” are what we refer to as.

To ensure that everyone at the table can see the third card, it is dealt face-up. The “door card” is what it is called.

Because the player with the lowest door card must make a “Bring In” wager into the pot, the door card is crucial. The person with the lowest suit wins if two or more players have the identical lowest card. Clubs (lowest), Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades are the suits in alphabetical order from lowest to highest (highest).

The bring in bet can also change, although it is often equivalent to half of the lowest stakes. For instance, at a table with $1/$2 stakes, the take in would be roughly $0.50.

The Opening Round of Betting (“3rd Street”)

The first round of betting starts with the player on the bring-in player’s left after the bring-in wager is put.

The following options must be selected by each participant in order for them to take the desired action:

  • Call: You may call an equal number of chips into the pot if another player has placed a bet before you. In this instance, unless another player has previously upped that bet, it will equal the amount of the brought in bet.
  • Raise: To raise, place a call wager for the same amount as the previous wager, followed by another wager for the same amount (the raise). All other players are required to match the raised stake after a raise or fold (or raise again!).
  • Fold: to toss in your cards face-down without revealing them to any other players in order to surrender the present hand or pot (in order to not influence the hand).
  • All-In: You can go all-in by placing your remaining chips in a separate stack towards the center of the table if you do not have enough (or just enough) chips to cover a stake. You are out of chips and the game if you lose. Only the amount of your all-in bet in chips may be taken from each player if you win.

The bring-in player has already placed the bring-in bet, so he has the option to call the current wager by increasing his bring-in stake’s chip total to match the total bet, or he can raise if he so chooses.

The second betting round on Fourth Street

A fourth card is handed to each player, face up for all to see.

Similar to the previous round, the following round of betting is started by the player exhibiting the highest open (face-up) hand going forward. The highest open hand at this time is a pair of aces, so take note of it.

Considering that no wager has yet been made in this round of betting, there are now extra betting alternatives available as follows:

  • Check: You may check whether no one has yet added any chips to the pot in the current betting round. This implies that although you are not betting, you are also not folding. After you have checked, if another player bets, you must either call the wager or fold.
  • Bet: A wager is made by the first player to add chips to the pot during a betting round.

Once everyone who wants to play the hand has put an equal number of chips into the pot, betting will proceed. Players that refuse to fold must wait until the next hand is dealt before continuing.

5th, 6th and 7th Street

Three more cards are dealt separately to continue the sequence, and after each card is dealt, there is a betting round:

  • 5th Street: Each player receives a fifth card face-up, after which there is another round of betting, starting with the person who has the strongest hand using the three revealed “up cards.” All wagers and increases beyond this point must match the maximum investment of $2. (in a fixed limit game).
  • 6th Street: A face-up sixth card is handed to each player. Another round of betting starts with the player revealing the best hand from the four revealed “up cards,” another round of betting starts.
  • 7th Street: The seventh and last card is dealt to each player, this time face-down. The player who initiated the previous betting round will initiate the subsequent betting round again since the revealed “up cards” have remained the same.

The Showdown

Only when at least two players are still in hand can a showdown take place. In the event that there is only one player left in the hand at any given time because all of the other players have folded, that player automatically wins the pot without having to reveal his cards.

Each surviving player will expose their cards when the showdown occurs. and show their top five card hand.

The person who can meld their seven cards into the best five-card poker hand wins the full prize.

The payout will be shared between the winners if there are two or more players with the exact same winning hand (pair of Kings, 10-high straight, etc.). When a suit (Flush, Royal Flush, etc.) is involved, the highest suit rank—in alphabetical order starting with Clubs (lowest), Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades—wins (highest).

The hand rankings are the same as in Texas Holdem, so if you’re not sure which hands are superior to others, check out our guide to poker hand rankings.