Seven card stud is a very old and well established variant of poker. The game is very popular in home games and can be found in most brick & mortar and online poker rooms. Seven card stud is included in most mixed games and is represented by the S in HORSE.
All players post an ante before the cards are dealt. The deal is represented by a dealer button which moves one player to the left after each hand. The cards are dealt in a clockwise direction until each player that has anted has been dealt 2 cards face down and 1 card face up. This begins the first betting round. The betting order is determined by the lowest value hand using only the cards that were dealt face up. The cards that are dealt face down are called “Hole” cards and are not considered in the determination of where the betting action starts. As additional cards are dealt, during the course of the hand, the betting action may start with a different player as the value of the player’s “Up” cards changes.
There are 5 rounds of betting in seven card stud which creates plenty of opportunity for betting action. The deal of the hand, along with the associated rounds of betting, are as follows:
- All players ante before any cards are dealt
- All players are dealt 2 cards face down and 1 card face up. The round of betting that follows is called “Third Street”.
- Remaining players are dealt a second up card giving them 2 down and 2 up. This round of betting is called “Fourth Street”
- The players that are still in the hand are dealt another card face up and the betting round that follows is called “Fifth Street”
- One more up card is dealt to each remaining player and this round of betting is called “Sixth Street”
- The 7th and final card is dealt “down” to the players that have stayed in the hand leading to the final round of betting known as “Seventh Street”
- If more than 1 player remains in the hand after the final round of betting there is a showdown with the highest hand winning.
Both the cards dealt up and the cards dealt down are exclusive to the player that they were dealt to. There are no community cards. The 3 hole cards provide concealment of the true value of the player’s hand. Although each player will be dealt 7 cards if they remain in the hand to the end, only the best 5 cards are used to make a hand for the showdown.
Seven card stud is played with a 52 card deck and without a joker. The ace is considered the highest denomination but may also be used for a high or low straight such as A, K, Q, J, 10 and A, 2, 3, 4, 5. Seven card stud can be played as a fixed limit, pot limit, and no limit game.