Many poker games can be divided into two categories: Community or Stud. Here’s how they break down:
In Community poker games, hands are made using a combination of personal cards players receive directly from the dealer (called “hole” cards), and community cards the dealer places on the table for all to use.
In Stud poker games, hands are made using only the personal cards a player receives directly from the dealer.
7 Card Stud
In this classic poker variation, players compete by making their best five-card hand from the seven cards they’re dealt throughout a round. One major difference between Stud and other poker games is that it is generally played as a fixed-limit game. This means the maximum a player can bet is set by the house—there’s no going “all in”.
Object of the Game
The object of the game is to win the pot. There are two ways players can do this:
1. By creating a winning five-card poker hand that beats every other hand at the table.
2. By using a combination of skill, strategy and in some cases, bluffing, to make other players fold their hands.
How to Play
1. The game begins with each player placing an Ante bet to build up the pot.
2. Once Antes are placed, the dealer gives each player two downcards and one upcard. The player with the lowest-value upcard starts the round with three options:
- Make the minimum bet
- Make a bet equal to the Ante
3. Now the first full round of betting, known as the “Third Street”, commences. This time, the player with the highest visible poker score goes first.
In this, and all following rounds of betting, players have four options:
4. After bets have been placed, the dealer deals the “Fourth Street” an additional upcard that leads into the second full round of betting.
5. After bets have been placed, the dealer deals the “Fifth Street” an additional upcard that leads into the third full round of betting.
6. After bets have been placed, the dealer deals the “Sixth Street” an additional upcard that leads into the fourth full round of betting.
7. Finally, after bets have been placed, the dealer deals the “Seventh Street” the final upcard that leads the final round of betting.
8. Finally, the round ends. There are two ways this can happen:
All players left in the hand turn over their cards. The best hand among the players still standing wins. If any players tie, they split the pot evenly.
Many hands of 7 Card Stud end when one of the players bets so much that everyone else folds. Because of this, a hand can end during any of the rounds of betting.
As with most poker variations, players can count on needing a fairly good hand to pull off a win at 7 Card Stud. Why? Because with each player receiving seven cards, it’s likely that most will receive at least a pair. The statistics break it down:
- 54% of the time it takes at least a straight to win
- 69% of the time it takes a three of a kind or better to win
- 97% of the time it takes at least two pair or better to win
While it can take a lifetime to master 7 Card Stud, there are a couple of strategies players have used to maximize their enjoyment of the game.
Pay close attention to your opponents’ cards
7 Card Stud offers players an exceptional opportunity—the ability to see some of their opponents’ cards. Since the odds of receiving any particular card decrease as the deck is depleted, it’s always good to keep an eye on which cards are being played around the table.
Only bet, call or raise if you have at least three of a kind
With seven cards per player, the odds are decent that many people around the table will have a pair of some sort. That’s why some players believe that unless you have three of a kind you should fold.
Playing conservatively and only betting or raising with strong hands can help to extend your play time and budget. Being mindful of your bankroll is never a bad strategy.