Seven Card Stud

What Is Seven Card Stud

Stud poker is similar to the more popular variant called holdem poker. Stud poker rules are identical to holdem except that there are no community cards, there are no blind bets, there are five betting rounds, and your position gives you no advantage or disadvantage at the start of the game. Stud poker strategy is thus very different from holdem strategy.

Don’t rush into a stud poker cash game thinking your holdem skills will work. Stud poker is popular enough that you can play stud poker online, and it isn’t too difficult to find a poker room offering cash stud games and even tournaments that use some form of stud as their main game. In terms of poker games’ popularity, stud is right up there with Texas holdem, though nothing captivates poker players quite like Texas holdem. Read below for a list of poker sites that offer stud poker.

Rules for Stud Poker

Want to know how to play stud poker? There are many variations of stud, the two most popular of which are 5-card and 7-card stud, with 7-card stud being the most popular form of stud poker offered online. Just like in holdem, play stars by handing players a mix of cards face up and face down. There follow betting rounds, like in holdem, with names based on the number of cards the player holds when the betting round starts. Like in holdem you’ve got “third card” and “third street”, “fifth card” and “fifth street”, etc.

Why to Play Stud Poker Online

Playing stud poker puts a premium on betting ability, which is one reason that Texas holdem players play stud—to increase their skill at placing bets. The first round of betting in stud starts with a forced bet by whichever player holds the lowest value determined by their lowest-valued suited up card. Suits rank this way– highest is Spades, then Hearts, then Diamond, and then Clubs. Each betting round after the first starts with the player with the high hand. Other than the lack of blind bets, the lack of position advantage, and an extra betting round, there isn’t much difference between Texas holdem and stud.

Finding Stud Games Online

Poker rooms that host stud games often have a good amount of traffic in stud for people taking a break from Holdem or polishing their straight-up poker skills. The best stud poker sites to play are the poker rooms offering stud games that have a high traffic volume. As of this writing, that means PokerStars, PartyPoker, iPoker, 888Poker, and most skins on the Ongame Network. Top rated stud poker sites are rooms that offer lots of competition for stud games. It is a common sight to wander into a smaller poker room’s stud games and find a ghost town. What’s the point of offering stud poker if no one in your membership pool wants to play it? That’s why you should stick to the more heavily-populated poker rooms offering some version of stud poker.

Play Stud at Busy Poker Rooms

A larger pool of fish playing stud poker makes it more likely that you’ll have enough competition to keep the game interesting and profitable. The purpose of playing stud, besides the thrill of playing online poker itself, is to get back to basics with your poker abilities and not rely on positional advantage, blind bets, and other attributes unique to holdem for your poker chops. It is also a game you have to be able to play to participate in HORSE tournaments or cash games at the more popular poker sites. Stud is the next to last game in HORSE, so much emphasis is placed on a HORSE player’s stud skills in HORSE tourneys and cash games.

7 Card Stud Rules & Hand Rankings

In 7 card stud, the highest hand wins, with aces playing both high and low for the purpose of building straights. In 7 card stud, the player with the lowest up card is forced to open with a starting bet, and there’s generally a three raise limit per round of play.

The game starts with an ante. After antes, everyone gets dealt two cards face down and one face up. If you have the lowest up card, you’re forced to bet to start play. Then play moves in clockwise order, with calls, raises, or folds.

Then, everyone is dealt a fourth card (face up) followed by a round of bets. Pay attention: from now on, the first check or bet decision goes to the player with the highest up card.

Once the fifth face up card is dealt, bets usually increase. Then a sixth face up card appears and we’re ready for another betting round. The final card (number seven) is dealt face down and followed by a final round of bets. After that, it’s time for the winning player to pick up the pot.

How to Play Seven Card Stud

Since 7 card stud is a high card game, it is common to see winning hands of the high pair or high two pair variety. Straights, flushes, and other big hands just aren’t as common for winners.

That means starting with a straight or flush draw should also mean having two high cards to cover your butt. If you can’t improve good draws or turn them into a high pair hand fast, you shouldn’t play through. If your high hand is easily beaten on the board as it stands, a fold is the right play.

Best Hands in Seven Card Stud

Trips should be high (Triple aces through trip 10s) and played fast. For the most part, your opponents will think you’ve got a high pair and will bite.

Low trips aren’t necessarily bad (we’re talking about trip 9s through trip 2s) as long as you slow play them until fifth street. This is advanced strategy best used against newbies.

High pairs are great hands in 7 card stud (pairs of aces, kings, etc.) if you play them fast, and if they are somehow hidden. You’ll have to do a little work to win a pot with high pairs, but the pot should be more than worth it.

If you hold any three cards toward a straight flush (think 5, 7, and 9 of diamonds) you’ll want to fold if most of your flush cards are already dead. Otherwise, play it slow and check/fold if you don’t get your cards.