Since 2003, the primary game of choice among most poker players is Texas Holdem. However, in the last couple of years, mixed games have become increasingly popular among players looking to for new revenue streams and for those looking to avoid the variance that comes in Texas Holdem. One of the more popular games to pick up is also one of the oldest forms of poker. In this article, we will learn how to play Seven Card Stud.
The object of Seven Card Stud is the same as Texas Holdem, and that is to make the best five card hand that you can. There are several distinct differences between Texas Holdem and Seven Card Stud. First, each player get seven card, but unlike Holdem, none of the cards are shared. Players will receive their own unique hand and must make their hand out of the cards received. Next, there are five betting rounds in Seven Card Stud as opposed to four betting rounds in Texas Holdem.
Let’s take a look at how to play a hand of Seven Card Stud. First, each player must post an ante. As opposed to Texas Holdem, every player must put up an ante and that pot is pulled to the center first before any cards are dealt. In some lower stakes Stud games, you may not have an ante depending on the casino or home game. Antes help to build a pot and give players something to shoot for, much like a blind in Holdem.
After antes are posted, each player receives three cards to start with. The first two cards are dealt face down, and then the next card is dealt face up. This is called third street. Unlike Holdem, the deal in Stud is always the same. You start with the player in seat one and deal clockwise around the table. A round of betting is then started by the lowest card showing. The low card must make a bring-in bet. The bring-in is a mandatory bet that is normally double the size of the ante.
The low card also has the option to make a full bet, also known as a completion. For the sake of clarity, in a Stud game with $2 – $4 betting with .50 ante, the bring-in bet would be $1, and a completion would be $2. If the low card does not complete the bet, which is common, the next player has the option to either call, complete, or fold. This goes around the table until action is completed. Also, in the event that there are more than one of the same low card, the bring-in is determined by the suit. From low to high, suit ranks are clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades.
After third street action is concluded, each player receives another upcard. This is fourth street. From this point to the river, the player with the high hand opens the betting. In the event of multiple hands of equal rank, the players closest to the dealer opens. The high hand may open for the small bet amount on fourth. The only exception is if there is an open pair on board. If someone is showing a pair, then anyone may make a double bet, which is the size of the big bet.
Fifth street is when things start to get interesting. Each player receives a third upcard and now betting is done in the amount of the big bet. By this point, hands are beginning to develop more clearly and fifth street is where many people make their decision as to whether to stay in the hand or to fold.
The last upcard is dealt on sixth street. One point to note is that the person with the high hand on sixth is automatically going to be the opener on the river. Also, in many casinos, it is customary to announce any potential straight or flushes on sixth. This occurs when a person is showing four cards to either the straight or a flush.
The last card is deal face down. This is seventh street, and many have adopted the river nickname from Holdem to seventh street in stud. One final round of betting will occur and then the remaining players left in the game will go to showdown. The player that made the last aggressive action, meaning a check or raise, will show first. After showing their cards, the player with the best five card hand wins the pot. You can only use five of your seven cards. In the event of a tie, the pot is chopped.
Cards speak in Stud as in Holdem. Therefore, miscalling your hand should not be penalized unless you are determined to be doing it intentionally. Most Seven Card Stud games that you will find are played in a limit betting format. However, there are some sites online that offer the game in pot-limit format. In brick and mortar casinos, you will usually only find limit Stud spread.
While learning how to play Seven Card Stud, one key skill you will want to develop is the ability to read the information around you. There is a plethora of information in the upcards and the cards that have been folded by your opponents. In many cases you will discover that you can significantly narrow the range of hands that your opponent is on based by what you have seen folded and on the board.
Seven Card Stud is considered by many people to be a dinosaur game and a game for old people. It is true that the average age of the modern day stud player is 50, but that is beginning to change. With games like HORSE and 7 Game gaining in popularity, players have to be able to play all forms of poker competently, not just Holdem. Take your time and research more material on how to properly play 7 Card Stud. Then go out and take part in some games. You will come to find out that Stud is a much more trickier game than Holdem.