Seven Card Stud

Learning about Seven Card Stud

Seven Card Stud is one of the oldest types of poker and it has enjoyed huge popularity among the American public for decades. As is the case with many types of poker, this one is relatively easy to come to grips with, but it takes longer to actually master it. Unlike the now more popular Texas Hold’em version, in Seven Card Stud, players are dealt seven cards throughout the course of the game which they then use to create the best possible hand. However, players will make their final hand using only five of their seven available cards. As with other poker variants, the value of each poker hand and which is higher is the same. This continuity helps players transition between the different rules of each version.

There is another difference between Seven Card Stud and other poker variants. This comes in the form of limit betting whereby all the bets have a set increment that they can be raised throughout the game. For instance, a game that is listed as $2/$4 will only allow bets to be raised $2 a time during the first two rounds. Following that, players can raise to increments of $4 in the remaining rounds of play. This means that players on a budget have a much better chance of actually participating and being able to last out the game – as long as they pick a table that suits their pocket of course! We will discuss this and other aspects of Seven Card Stud in greater detail throughout this article. 

The History of Seven Card Stud

When it comes to poker as a whole, the initial beginnings are a little bit hazy. This version of poker could have possibly come from two separate sources. One school of thought suggests that the game originated from the French game, Poque. Others maintain that the general structure of poker is more in keeping with the Persian game, Nas. It is possible that a combination of these two games gave rise to the poker we know today. However, when it comes to other poker variants, the most common root for these, including Seven Card Stud, is most definitely America. Poker, as a whole, became popular in the US during the early to mid-1800s, but it wasn’t until the end of this century that various incarnations started to spring up.

Seven Card Stud became popular during the 1900s and quickly became the most popular game in casinos and also as a friendly game at home. It held this prestigious place in America for decades, until it finally lost that crown in the 1980s to the upstart, Texas Hold’em. Even though Seven Card Stud has since lost popularity, there are still many casinos that offer it, catering in particular to those older players who still prefer this option. Its future still looks bright, however, with comebacks for this game occurring worldwide. It also helps that big poker tournaments, such as the World Series of Poker, still host mini Seven Card Stud tournaments, alongside mixed poker options that include a number of the different stud options, enabling players to demonstrate a range of skills.

How to Play Seven Card Stud

Before play begins, an ante must be made, with the value depending on each game. Essentially, this is the initial buy-in to get the first hand. The next step is called Third Street and this is where each player is dealt their first three cards. Two of these will be hidden whilst one will be placed facing upwards. The player that has the lowest value card will have to start the game. They can choose to make the smallest bet or a full bet, again the value will depend on the game. The game then progresses clockwise. Fourth Street sees the dealer give each player a fourth card, also placed face up. In this round, the player with the highest value on the visible cards will start the round.

This player must make a nominal bet or use the structured betting amount set out by the table, then all other players will bet. Fifth Street sees the dealer give each player a fifth card, also face up. As with Fourth Street, the player with the highest value starts, with all players betting afterwards in the larger increment scale. Sixth Street is the sixth card and follows the same format as the last two streets. The River comes next, where the seventh card is dealt, this time face down. Play commences in a similar fashion to the previous streets. Lastly is the Showdown. This occurs if there are still multiple players in the game after the last round. All players show their hands with the best five cards being the winner. 

Winning Strategies

There are a number of things that can help you get ahead in 7 Card Stud and we’ll list a few of these here. They’re not fool proof but can definitely help you on your way to more wins. The first part of a good poker strategy is knowing when you should fold. There is a mistaken belief that you should play as many hands as possible – not true! If you don’t have a good hand, fold. If you still haven’t got any decent cards by the third round get out of that round. There are also different styles of play you can employ for various parts of the game. Aggressive play is great if you’re holding something high (Ace or King) in the first three cards and even better if you have a pair of them.

Another strategy is how long to stay in. This follows on from knowing when to fold. For example, if your first three cards are all of the same suit, or they are in a sequence and the fourth card matches them, keep on going. If this keeps occurring, plough on through to the end but if it doesn’t match, then fold at the fifth card. You should also be watching the other players and checking their cards at all times. A promising starting hand is a pair in the cards that aren’t visible to the other players. However, it might not be as great as you think if visible cards are already beating it. We should also mention here that you should always remain focused. If you find yourself starting to drift, take a break.

Betting Options

Seven Card Stud has the same betting options of fold, check, bet and call as any other poker variant. Some of your decisions will also be determined by what the players who have gone before you have done. For instance, if no players have made a bet then you can choose to check or bet. If a previous player has made a bet, then you can choose to fold, raise or call. To check means to not place a bet but to keep your cards. Folding means exiting from the game. Calling places a matching bet to the previous player and raising matches the previous bet, but also increases it, meaning the next player must also go higher. Don’t forget though that raising in Seven Card Stud follows specific increments.

What to Look for in an Online Game

If you’re new to Seven Card Stud then there are a few things you should look for when picking a game online. Firstly, you should always look for a room that has low betting limits. So that you can get comfortable with the game. It’s also a good idea to test out your skills in one of the free sites or even with friends at home before you head out in a gung-ho fashion to pit yourself against more accomplished players. Some versions will offer a variety of pots as well so you can look for Pot-limit games that prevent players from starting too high. A final tip is to look for a loose game, characterised by lots of bets, particularly in the pre-flop phase. This means they don’t know what they’re doing so you stand a chance!

Where to Play

As we mentioned earlier, despite not being as popular as it used to be, Seven Card Stud is still available in most online casinos. When choosing which casino to play at, first of all, check that they even offer the game. However, you should not jump right in, but instead check out all the other features of the casino as well. It is very important that you check the reputation and trustworthiness of a casino before making the decision to play there. Check to see whether it holds licenses and where they’re from. It is also worth having a look at the monetary providers they use as well. Once you’re satisfied that all is well with the casino, you can take the time to check out the bonuses as well. 

Final Words

As with all poker variants, it is important to remember to pay attention to all the cards on the table. Not just your own. The fact that you can see some of their cards during the play. Should help you to make prudent decisions throughout the game. For instance, if you’re holding an ace but the other three aces are already on the table, it might be time to think of a different strategy. Follow the basic tips that we have given you here and you will be well on your way to getting some much better at the game. As with all things though, practice makes perfect so don’t head out there expecting to win on your first time, as you’ll only be disappointed.