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How to Play 7-Card Stud Poker?

7-Card Stud is a variant of Stud poker that was highly popular by the 2000s before Texas Hold ‘em took over the prime place as the globally favorite poker game. However, 7-Card Stud is still played, especially by professional poker players. It is regularly found in many online casinos and is the S in H.O.R.S.E. mixed poker games and poker tournaments. Here, our experts discuss how to play 7-Card Stud and outline the essential rules of the game, and we’ll outline where you can play this exciting poker game.

Main 7-Card Stud Poker Rules

Seven-Card Stud has very similar rules to 5-Card Stud, with some key differences. The players all get three face-down cards and four face-up cards, and they need to create the best possible five-card hand. Here are the poker rules you need to follow when playing 7-Card Stud online or in a land-based game:

  • The 7-Card Stud game is played with an ante bet
  • Seven-Card Stud is a high-hand-wins poker variant and the variant where the low hand wins is Razz poker
  • There are no specific poker positions in the 7-Card Stud poker game
  • A game of 7-Card Stud is limited to up to 8 players
  • If all 8 players remain up until the River, a single community card is flipped on the table for all players

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Seven-Card Stud Gameplay

The game of 7-Card Stud is relatively simple to play, and here we made a detailed outline of the gameplay from start to finish:

✅ Antes & Bring-in

The antes in 7-Card Stud are the mandatory bets every player around the table has to pay to enter the game. The antes are pre-determined and are usually about 10% of the big bet or the table limit, and serve as an incentive for all the players to take the game seriously.

There are also two bet sizes, a small and a big bet, and the small bet is usually half the big bet. These restrict the amount you can bet in each round. In the first two betting rounds, you can place small bet amounts, and in the next three betting rounds, you can play the big bet.

✅ Third Street

Once the players place the ante, they get two face-down and one face-up card. The player who has the lowest face-up card, which is also called the door card, will pay the bring-in or the forced bet that opens the betting round. The amount of the bring-in is usually the same as the small bet size. The betting continues clockwise until all the players take their actions.

✅ Fourth Street

After all the players make their actions, the dealer burns a card and deals a fourth card to each player, which is face-up. Now, all the players have two face-down and two face-up cards on the table, and the betting round is opened by the player with the best poker hand that the two face-up cards make. The betting continues clockwise, with the small size bet.

✅ Fifth Street

The next round is the same, where the players get another face-up card, and the player who has the best three-card hand (the three visible cards) starts the third betting round. The players now have five cards and can place bets in the amount of the big bet.

✅ Sixth Street

The following round is called sixth street, where after the dealer burns a card, deals one face-up card to all the players. Again, the player who has the best four-card hand (their visible cards) starts the betting round with the big bet amount.

✅ Seventh Street/River

This round starts with each remaining player getting the last card, a face-down card, for a total of three face-down and four face-up cards. The player with the best visible hand starts the betting, and here, the betting limit is the big bet. The betting continues clockwise, where the players can bet or raise. If all eight players remain in the game, there will not be enough cards for all the players to get a face-down card, and the dealer deals one face-up card that serves as a community card for everyone.

✅ Showdown

If two or more players are remaining after the river, they go into the showdown. Here, the players compare the hands, and the one with the best poker hand wins the pot. The player who made the last bet in seventh street reveals their cards first, and then the players go in a clockwise fashion, showing their cards, or they can muck their hand without revealing. If someone mucks their cards, it is considered a forfeit, and only the players with revealed cards compare their winning hands.

Seven-Card Stud Poker Hands Ranking

The player who has the best hand made using five of their seven cards will win the showdown in 7-Card Stud poker. You will need to learn all the winning hands, as well as the odds and outs for every hand, so that you can make the proper decision. The table below shows you the poker hand rankings, listed from the best to worst.

Hand name Cards
Royal Flush 10-J-Q-K-A in the same suit
Straight Flush J-10-9-8-7 – any five consecutive cards in the same suit
Four of a Kind Four of the same card plus a fifth card
Full House Three cards of one rank and two cards in another rank
Flush Five cards in the same suit, no matter the sequence
Straight Five cards in a sequence, no matter the suit
Three-of-a-Kind Any three cards of the same rank plus two other cards
Two Pair A hand with two distinct pairs plus a fifth card
Pair A hand with a pair of cards and three other cards
High Card A five-card hand that does not fit any of the hands above

Best Starting Hands in 7-Card Stud Poker

To get an excellent chance to win a 7-Card Stud poker game, you will need to start with an excellent starting hand. Since not all starting cards have a good winning potential, you should only play strong starting hands that can develop into good hands in later streets. Here are the best starting hands you can have in 7-Card Stud poker:

  • Three of a kind – starting with 3 Aces and going down the list
  • High Pairs with a high kicker– AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, and so on
  • High Suited Connectors – AK, KQ, JT, and so on
  • Medium Pairs with suited connectors – TT and down the list
  • High Semi-Connectors – AQ, KJ, QT, and so on

7-Card Stud Hi-Lo (8 or Better)

There are several variants of the 7-Card Stud, and one of them is the 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo (8 or Better). It is a split pot poker variant where half the pot goes to the player with the best high hand created using five of the seven cards, and the other half of the pot goes to the player with the best low qualifying hand.

As the name suggests, the Hi-Lo (8 or Better) refers to the qualifier where the low hand can’t have a card higher than 8, and the hand can’t have any pairs, three of a kind or four of a kind. If there is no qualifying low hand, the entire pot goes to the winner of the high hand, which is the same as with Omaha Hi-Lo poker.

The Aces count as low in the low hands; the best qualifying low hand is the A-2-3-4-5, and the worst qualifying low hand is 4-5-6-7-8. It is possible for the same player to win the high and low hands. Per the rules of the 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo, you can use any five of the seven cards to make the best high hand and use different five cards for the low hand.

7-Card Stud Poker Strategy & Tips

Let us now share some vital poker tips and strategies that you can apply when playing 7-Card Stud poker online or offline:

  • Learn the rules of 7-Card Stud – learn all the rules of the game and know all the tricks in your favor
  • Start with a good hand – learn which starting hand has a good winning potential and tend to only play good hands that you can use to your advantage
  • Don’t play too many starting hands – avoid playing all the starting hands you are dealt. Instead, tend to only play starting hands that have an excellent winning potential
  • Follow the shown cards – the shown cards bring vital info on what’s left and what are the potential hand ranges your opponents hold
  • Play the players – observe the players, notice their poker tells, and use them against your opponents. Use this knowledge to decide if you can make a successful bluff
  • Tend to fold or raise – you should avoid checking. Instead, you should bet or raise the bets, especially if you have a good starting hand

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Which player starts betting first in 7-Card Stud?

The player who has the highest door card – the visible, face-up card they are dealt at the start of the game is the first to start betting. This player has to play the bring-in, the forced bet that opens the betting in 7-Card Stud poker.

What is the best hand in 7-Card Stud poker?

The royal flush –10-J-Q-K-A in the same suit, is the best winning card in Seven-Card Stud poker that wins against all other hands.

How many players can play 7-Card Stud poker?

7-Card Stud poker is limited to 8 players; it is limited by the number of cards in the deck, as each player needs to get seven cards, which is impossible, as the game is played with a single 52-card deck.

What happens if you run out of cards in 7-Card Stud poker?

If you run out of cards in 7-Card Stud poker, the dealer will not deal the seventh face-down card to each player. Instead, the dealer will place one face-up card in the middle of the table that will serve as a community card for all the players.

How to play 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo split?

The 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo is a split pot poker variant, and this game has almost the same rules as the regular 7-Card Stud poker. The critical difference is the rule of the qualifying low hand, where you can make a low qualifying hand with an 8 or lower. The best qualifying low hand is the A-2-3-4-5, and the worst qualifying low hand is 4-5-6-7-8.

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