7 Card Stud
The objective of 7 Card Stud is to make the best possible five-card poker hand using seven cards. The hands are ranked according to standard poker hand rankings. Stud games are defined by their betting limits. The game’s betting limits tell the Stud player pretty much everything they need to know about the nature of the game, the expectations of the players, and the size of the bankroll you should have before you sit in.
A typical 7 Card Stud buy-in is 10 times the low limit. A minimum buy-in would be $20 for a $2-$4 Stud game. Beginners should stick to Stud games below the $10-$20 level. Anything higher than this and a beginner will face players beyond their skill level.
In 7 Card Stud the ante is mandatory. Lower games generally require a 10% ante, $0.50 for a $5-$20 game. Higher games may raise the ante to 25%. These percentages may vary depending on where you’re playing.
After all players have put their ante in, the dealing begins. The cards a dealt clockwise, one card at a time. Each player is dealt two facedown pocket cards. Then one “door” card is dealt face-up to each player. At this point each player has three cards on the table, known as “Third Street”.
The first player to bet is determined by the lowest door card. If there is a tie then suit is used; spades tops hearts, then diamonds and finally clubs. This player has the option to open the betting with a bet equal to twice the ante. If the ante is $1 then the opening bet will be $2. If the first player does not wish to open then they must fold and the opportunity to open moves to the player on their left.
After the opening bet has been made, the betting advances clockwise. The next player can either call the opener, raise by betting the low betting limit, or fold. During Third Street all bets and raises are fixed at the low betting limit.
The dealer then gives each player another up card and the game moves on to Fourth Street. The opener is determined by the player with the highest up card hand. The openers for the rest of the game are determined in this fashion. The player has the option the check (pass), bet, or fold. If the high hand is an open pair, the opener may bet the upper limit, otherwise they must bet the lower limit. All raises for the round will be fixed at the opening bet level.
On to Fifth Street, another card is then dealt face up to each player. High hand opens and all bets and raises are at the upper limit.
Sixth Street is played the same as Fifth. One more card is dealt face-up, high hand opens and all bets and raises are at the upper limit.
For Seventh Street, the “river” card is dealt facedown with the previous two pocket cards. This is the final card to be dealt. All bets and raises are at the high limit.
After the Bets and Raises have been resolved, the remaining players enter the Showdown. The opener reveals his pocket cards. If a player wishes to compete with this hand they too reveal their pocket cards, or they can yield and muck out (fold). The winner is the player with the highest-ranking poker hand. Any player can request to see any final hand that has been mucked.
7 Stud Strategy
This course will teach you the strategy of what hands to play in 7 Card Stud and how to play them. A major factor in 7 Card Stud strategy in determining what opening hands are worth playing. The following hands are strategically playable 7 Card Stud starting hands.
High Trips (10-A) – Bet, raise and re-raise to get as much money in the pot as possible.
Low Trips (2-9) – Check and call to keep other players in the game and increase the pot odds.
High Pair (10-A) – If you’ve got the best pair on the board then bet, raise and re-raise to get as many other players out as possible. Narrow the field and play aggressively until your hand is threatened by a higher one.
Low Pair with a High Kicker – Play this hand slow. If you don’t make Trips or Two Pair on the next card then consider folding. Best not to play this hand unless it’s higher than anything on the board..
Concealed Low Pair without High Kicker – Play these slow. Check/fold if you don’t make Trips or Two Pair on the next card. Best not to play this hand unless it’s higher than anything on the board.
High Overcards – Play these slow if you’ve got the highest cards on the board. Check/fold if it doesn’t turn into anything by Fourth Street.
High 3 Card Flush – At least two of the cards should be 10 or better. Fold if three or more of the suit show up on the board. Play slow and check/fold if you don’t make a four-card flush or a high pair on the next card. Don’t play to a low Flush or low Straight.
Any 3 Cards to a Straight Flush – Fold if four or more of your key straight flush cards are on the board. Play slow and check/fold if you don’t make any four cards to a straight or a four-card flush.
Play aggressively when you start with a high pair. It’s in your best interest to eliminate as many players as possible before a better hand shows up.
Play slow when starting with a draw hand like three to a straight or a flush. It’s in your best interest to keep players in to build the pot odds in case your hand pans out. It’s also a good idea to begin less aggressively when starting with trips. Hold of until Fifth Street in order to slowly build the pot.
Your best information will come from the board. Make sure you watch what’s out there and alter your Stud strategy accordingly. It’s usually a good idea to fold if your complete hand is beaten on the board, unless you are playing a strong draw hand, sach as a Straight Flush.
Your second best source of information is your opponents themselves. If you’re playing online this resource will be greatly diminished. Look closely for player tells and betting style. Make a note of when players bluff and fold. Also, make sure to vary your own play. Your opponents will be watching you as well. Don’t be afraid of getting caught bluffing once in while, it can payoff down the line.
The key to winning in 7 Card Stud lies in your first four cards. If your hand doesn’t develop the way you’d like, then cut it loose. It’s best to escape early and minimize your losses. Wait for the strong hands to make your move.