7-Card Stud Explained

Lots of cards and betting rounds in 7-Card Stud make for an exciting game, especially when you can see other players’ hand developing

Trips is a big hand and you’d be advised to slow-play this to trap others

One of the oldest and most popular of all poker games, 7-Card Stud is a fixed-limit game for 2-8 players. The play and betting format is very different to Hold’em but don’t let that put you off – it’s one of the purest and most exciting games around.

The first major difference is that you get seven cards – three dealt face down and four dealt face up. To start everyone pays an ante into the pot (usually 1/4 of the lower limit, so in a £1-£2 game it would be 25p). Then you receive two cards face down and one face up (the door card). Betting starts with the player showing the lowest door card who has to make a forced bet (also called a bring-in bet) of either half the lower limit (50p) or the lower limit (£1). The other players have a choice: fold, call or raise. The raise is up to the lower limit in the first two betting rounds, so £1 would be the limit, with any subsequent raise being a further £1. There are a maximum of three raises in any betting round, after which every player must either call or fold.

Exposed pair

After the first betting round is complete you’re dealt another card face up. However, in this betting round the action starts on the player with the highest cards showing, who has a choice of folding, checking or betting the lower limit. Betting is exactly the same as before UNLESS a player has a pair exposed; at this point he can bet either the lower limit OR the higher limit. If he bets the lower limit, you can call that amount or raise by the lower or higher limit. However, once someone has raised by the higher limit all subsequent raises must then be at that level.

After the second round of betting is complete, the Fifth . The example below outlines three good starting positions and the ensuing mayhem. Street is dealt face up and all bets must now be placed or raised at the higher limit. Betting continues in the same way for the Sixth Street and the river, although this last card is dealt face down.

When all betting rounds are completed it’s time for the showdown, with the winner being the player who makes the highest five-card hand from any of the seven they’ve been dealt. The hand rankings are exactly the same as in Texas Hold’em.

So, what’s the best advice for 7-Card Stud? First, you’ll need to apply a lot of skill and concentration. You need to keep track of all the hands on the table and it’s crucial that all three of your starting cards give you Trips is a big hand and you’d be advised to slow-play this to trap others options. Trips is a big hand and you’d be advised to slow-play this to trap others, but a high pair, especially if concealed in your hole cards offers strong possibilities and should be bet or raised with if other hands look weak. As for flush and straight draws, you really need all three of your starting cards to help and should check or fold if you need more than one to each by Fifth Street. High cards in either draws might be worth playing for the chance of picking up high pairs.

Ultimately, the best advice is to watch closely how other players’ hands develop and work out your chances of winning. If you think you’re beat, it’s best to get out as bluffing in a low-stakes limit game doesn’t carry much weight.

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