OBJECTIVE OF SEVEN CARD STUD: The objective of the game is to have the best hand and to win the pot.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 5-7 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: standard 52-card
RANK OF CARDS: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
TYPE OF GAME: Casino
THE DEAL & THE PLAY
The rules and mechanism of play in Seven Card Stud is very similar to that of Five Card Stud. This article assumes the reader is familiar with certain poker semantics. If you are new to poker, check out Poker Basics to familiarize yourself with the jargon and general structure of poker games.
Before the first official betting round, the dealer gives each player two cards face-down (hole cards) and one card face-up. The player with the lowest face-up card pays the bring-in bet. Ties for the low card are broken by suit rankings. If there is a bring-in bet, the first player betting in the official round may not check. Betting begins with the player who has the highest card. If there was no bring-in, this player may check (not place a bet). If players tie for high card, the first player immediately clockwise to the dealer begins the betting.
After the initial round of betting, players are dealt another face-up card after the burn card. A burn card is a card on the top of the deck the dealer discards, it is not used by the players. The dealer passes out cards starting from their left. The player whose two face-up cards (or upcards) begins the second round of betting. Since there are less than five upcards players are unable to make straights, flushes, or full houses. Once all the cards are dealt player bet again, starting with the player with the highest hand. This stipulation for the first bet remains consistent throughout the game- the first player to bet always has the highest hand. Betting passes clockwise afterward.
At the end of the second round of betting another upcard is dealt followed by another round of betting. This is followed by a fourth upcard and a fourth betting round. However, after the fourth betting round the fifth card is distributed face-down. After is the fifth betting round and then a showdown if more than one player remains.
Seven card stud is simplified as, “two down, four up, one down,” which refers to the quantity and order of the way cards are dealt.
In games with eight players, including the burn cards, seven card stud uses 60 cards in gameplay. This is often not an issue, despite that decks are only 52 cards, because many players fold before the end of the hand. However, if the deck runs dry during gameplay, the burn cards may be used if they fulfill the needed amount of cards. If they do not, instead of players receiving a down-card in the final round, there is a single community card dealt to the table. All players share this card. Cards that were discarded from folded hands may not be used.
From the seven cards collected through gameplay, at showdown players who remain will try to make the best hand out of five cards they possibly can. The player with the highest ranking hand (Poker Hand Rankings) wins the pot, if there is a tie, the pot is split.
During betting rounds, players will have the opportunity to call, raise, check, or fold. The circumstances when players may check, or not place a bet, is outlined in the instructions above and varies from game to game. In a betting round, calling, raising, and folding are the most common actions:
- Call. You may call by betting the amount wagered by a previous player. For example, if you bet 5 cents and another player raises the bet amount to a dime (raises 5 cents), you may call on your turn by paying the pot 5 cents, thus matching the 10 cent bet amount.
- Raise. You may raise by first betting the amount equal to the current wager and then bet more. This increases the wager or bet amount on the hand which other players must match if they wish to remain in the game.
- Fold. You may fold by laying down your cards and not betting. You do not have to put money in the pot but you do sit out on that hand. You forfeit any money wagered and have no opportunity to win the pot.
Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo
At the showdown, players choose 5 cards to wither make the highest or lowest hand they can. The pot is split evenly between players with the highest and lowest ranking hands. If the pot is uneven, the player with the high hand gets the odd chip.
In Hi/Lo Eight or Better, sometimes abbreviated to Seven Stud/8, players must have an 8 or lower to have a low hand.
This common variant removes the betting round between fourth and fifth streets (fourth and fifth rounds), so there is only four betting rounds. The fifth and final card is dealt face up. These variations make the game resemble Texas Hold ‘Em.
A version of seven card stud, played low hand only, using ace-to-six rankings.
There is typically a limit on the pot.
This is a variation on seven card stud, played low hand only, using ace-to-five rankings. The bring in bet is made by the player who holds high card, this is before the first round of betting. From fourth street on, the betting begins with the player who holds the lowest hand. Ace is always low and King is always high. The suit of the high card breaks ties for equivalent hands. For example, if one player has 7 of Hearts & 2 of hearts and the other has a 7 of clubs & 2 of diamonds, the player with 7 of clubs starts the betting because clubs is lower than spades. Reminder, suits are ranked in reverse alphabetical order, with spades being highest ranking suits and clubs the lowest.
If playing Razz fixed limit, on fifth street the limit doubles and big bets are only allowed from then on. Third and fourth street only permit small bets.