Seven Card Stud is a traditional poker game played with a standard deck of 52 cards. Two to eight players can join. The objective is to assemble the strongest possible hand from a combination of private and publicly visible cards to win the pot.
Originating from the broader poker tradition, this card game has garnered a substantial following globally, with a notable stronghold in the United States and other English-speaking areas.
Even before dealing, each player must put in an ante, a small, forced bet. Its purpose is to create a pot for the players to compete for to encourage them to play hands.
The dealer shuffles the entire deck and deals two cards face-down, called hole cards, and one face-up, known as the door card, to each player. The player with the lowest face-up card must start the first round of betting.
If you consider your hand strong, you can choose between calling (matching the previous bet) and raising (increasing the previous bet) during betting. Any bets go toward the pot, which will usually be poured out to the player with the strongest hand at the end of the round.
If your hand seems weak, you can give up your hand and your chance to win the pot by folding. Betting continues until all players called or folded.
During betting, you need to estimate your hand’s strength compared to the other hands at the table. In Seven Card Stud, you can use any combination of your seven cards to combine your best five-card hand. The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot.
Standard poker hand rankings apply to determining the strength of a hand.
During the first few rounds of betting, all hands at the table are incomplete. Over the course of betting and more dealing, some cards are also dealt revealed. That way, you gain more information on your fellow players’ hands and your hand’s chances of being the strongest one.
After the first round of betting, each player gets another open card, followed by the second round of betting. After that, each player gets their third open card, followed by the third round of betting, after which each player gets their fourth and final open card of the round, and the fourth round of betting ensues.
Each player that didn’t fold until now will get their seventh card. This card is dealt face-down. As a result, all active players have three face-down cards and four face-up cards. It is time to reveal the remaining hands and determine the strongest one.
If multiple players have equally strong hands that are the highest hands at the table, the pot can also be split equally between them.
There are plenty of variations regarding Seven Card Stud, including Hi-Lo, in which the pot is split between the player with the highest hand and the player with the lowest hand.
This fun and challenging poker game requires skill, strategy, and a little bit of luck. Enjoy!