poker

Seven Card Stud
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Play Online PokerSeven Card Stud:

 

Seven Card Stud is probably the most common poker game you will find in a casino. When it comes to Poker, we all grew up with  Draw Poker. 5-Card Stud is classic but its become too rare to speak of. (I can't remember the last 5-Card stud game I've seen in or out of a casino).  Texas Hold'Em might get all the glamour, but  7-Stud is the game of choice for most  players. 

7-Stud demands both strategy and skill and it takes a lot of play to develop the winner's edge. Top caliber players are few and far between but they have one thing in common with anyone sitting in for the first time. Every good player of the game is still learning, even the masters ... and the cards run funny for all of us.

Basic rules:

Before we begin: 

All poker games, including 7-Stud are really defined by their betting limits. Low stakes games are usually $2-$4 to $6-$12. Most of these games are suitable for beginners. If you are new to the game or just managing your bankroll, look for a lower limit game ($2-$4). You will need to buy in for at least 10 times the minimum bet ($20.00 for a $2-$4) game. I recommend sitting in with a more comfortable bankroll so you are not pressing or playing too tight. My typical bankroll on a $2-$4 table would be $120.00 with an initial buy in of $60.00. This allows an additional buy in if needed and helps with money management strategy (why fight a cold table - see the tips and strategy section). 

Once you get into higher stakes games ($10-20) up to ($200-$400), your going to be playing against exceptional players. (Some are exceptional Poker players ... others are exceptional fools ... and if you can't pick the fool out at the table, it's usually not a good sign)

 

Betting Limits

Stud games are defined by their betting limits. The low stakes online games are usually $1-$4 while the higher games are typically $8-$16 or $10-$20. In live games in Las Vegas, you can find games at $100-$200 or higher, but these stakes are very rare on the web.

Getting Started: 

The Ante vs. Forced bet

Depending on the casino, you will either have to Ante or there will be a forced bet. 

  • If there is an Ante, then everyone must put in a small bet (Typically 10-20% of the minimum bet). Most $2-4 games will have a $0.50 ante with higher stakes games requiring a proportionally higher Ante. 
  • If there is a forced bet, the low card (ties are broken by suit), must open with the minimum bet. They cannot fold. 
Dealing

The dealer deals clockwise starting on their immediate left. They deal one card at a time around the table until each player has two pocket ("hole") cards (face down) and a single up card.

At this point the dealer indicates which player will open the betting, determined by the lowest card. If there's a tie for low card, then it is resolved by suit: spades over hearts, followed by diamonds, and finally clubs.

Betting

Once the initial cards have been dealt, the game begins. At this point we've got three cards on the table per player and that's called "Third Street".

Third Street

The player holding the lowest up card must "open" and either "bet" (a bet equal to twice the ante) or "Fold". If the player folds,  the opener passes to the player on their left.

The next player clockwise from the opener can Call by matching the opener, raise by betting the low betting limit or fold. Throughout third street all Bets and Raises are fixed at the low betting limit. 

  • Note: A raise is simply a second bet. It must be equal to the bet that is being raised. Call $2.00 and raise $2.00, etc. There is typically a three raise limit on each round. (check with the dealer if you aren't sure). If a player is "all in", you may complete the original bet (table limit) and then raise that amount.
Fourth Street

The dealer gives each player another open (up) card. Unlike third street, the opener in the fourth and remaining streets is the high hand as determined by the open cards. They may Check (Pass) or Bet. It they Bet it's at the low limit ($2.00) and that fixes all raises in this round to the same.

If the high hand is an open pair, the opener can Bet at the upper limit ($4.00) and this fixes all Raises in the round to the same.

Fifth and Sixth Street

Again, the card is dealt up and high hand opens. All Bets and Raises are at the upper limit ($4.00).

Seventh Street (a.k.a. "The River")

The last card, is another pocket or hole card (face down). All bets and raises are at the high limit ($4.00).

Showdown

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).

At the casino it's the dealer's responsibility to call the winner, as determined by the best 5-card hand under normal Poker rules.

Final Thoughts

It takes quite a bit of time to get good at Poker but keep in mind that anyone can win on any given day. I've seen some of the greatest players in the world get knocked out of tournaments by relative unknowns. A tournament can be a great way to learn how to play or you can look for a relatively low stakes game. No matter where you decide to get started, have fun!