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How to play 7 Card Stud

7 Card Stud, sometimes referred to as just Stud, was quite likely the most well known and widely played variety of poker in the world until it was overtaken by Texas Hold’em. Stud is different from Texas Hold’em and Omaha in a several ways. Primarily, Stud is not a community card game. Each player is dealt seven cards throughout five betting rounds with the best five-card poker hand winning. 7 Card Stud is only played with a limit betting structure and therefore an ante must be posted by each player to ensure there is money in the pot. Occasionally, when there are a lot of players left until the river card is dealt there may not be enough cards left to give each player their own river card. In this situation the dealer will turn one card face-up to be used as a community card.

How to play 7 Card Stud

Betting Rounds

First Round – In 7 Card Stud, a disc known as the dealer “button” serves to recognize which player sitting at the table is the dealer for that particular hand. After all players have placed their ante they receive their initial cards. The cards are dealt in a clockwise direction from the dealer button. Each player is dealt three cards (two of them face down and one face up). The player with the lowest face up card is known as the "bring-in" and must make a wager of half the small blind. (For example, in a $4-$8 game, the bring-in is $2). The other players then must decide to match this amount beginning clockwise from the bring-in. If two players are tied for the low card the card rankings are broken by suit, with the order being spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs (in descending order).

Second Round (Fourth Street) – Next, each player is dealt another face up card, known as “fourth street”. In this round the first person to act is the player whose face up cards, comprise the highest poker value. This player may either check or bet. The bet amount is determined by the value of the face up cards on the table. If there is no pair exposed then the amount will be the small bet (For example, in a $4-$8 game, the bet is $4). However, if there is a face up pair then the amount is the big bet ($8 in the previous example).

Third Round (Fifth Street) – Each player is dealt a third face up card in this round, called “fifth street”. Starting in this betting round and all subsequent betting rounds all wagers are in the big bet amounts (For example, in a $4-$8 game, the bet is $8). The first person to act is again the player whose face up cards, comprise the highest poker value.

Fifth Round (Seventh Street) – Each player is dealt a seventh card called “seventh street” or the “river”. This last card is dealt face down. The first person to act on the river is the player whose face up cards, comprise the highest poker value.

Showdown – If more than one player remains after the fifth round of betting is completed then there is a showdown and the last player to bet shows their cards first. If no one acted then the player whose face up cards, comprise the highest poker value, shows their cards first. The player with the best five-card stud poker hand wins the pot. In the event of identical poker hands, the pot will be equally divided between the players with the best hands.