Seven Card Stud
Seven-Card Stud is one of the most popular card games around. It is also extremely easy to learn how to play. In Seven-Card Stud you receive a total of seven cards and use any five of the seven cards to create your best five card poker hand at best online poker sites.
How to Play Seven-Card Stud
Before any cards are dealt all of the players in the game put in an ante. Starting to the dealers left, two cards are dealt face down to each player and one card is dealt face up to each player. These are referred to as hole cards.
After the players take a look at their hole cards, the player with the lowest card must place a small bet to stay in the game. The bet is referred to as “bring in”. Then betting continues to that low-card player’s left. Each player can call, raise, or fold their cards.
Once the round of betting has been completed each player then receives another card which is dealt face up. This card is referred to as fourth street or as the turn card.
This time the player with the highest cards showing begins the round of betting.
Once the round of betting has been completed each player then receives another card which is dealt face up. This card is referred to as fifth street or as the river card. Again, the player with the highest cards showing begins the round of betting.
Once the round of betting has been completed each player then receives another card which is dealt face up. This is the sixth card that has been dealt and will also be the final card that is dealt face up. Again, the player with the highest cards showing begins the round of betting.
Then the seventh and final card is dealt face down. The final round of betting begins with the player who has the highest cards showing.
The player with the best five card hand wins the pot.
Seven-Card Stud Strategy
A good sound Seven-Card Stud Strategy requires playing good starting hands along with a good amount of concentration and being aware of the cards that have been dealt to your opponents. If you can do these three things – play good starting hands, concentrate, be aware – then you should be able to develop into a good Seven-Card Stud player.
The most important decision you will make at the table will be deciding what starting hands to play. Good poker players are selective about the starting hands that they will play. Most new players tend to play far too many hands and end up losing money.
As part of my recommended Seven Card Stud Strategy you will base your decision to play the hand only after looking at your starting hand and after looking at your opponents up cards.
If you notice that cards that are important to your hand have already been dealt to your opponents you may want to consider folding and saving yourself money.
Also, just because you receive what you think is a good starting hand one time does not necessarily mean that the next time you receive that same exact hand that it will be just as good. For example, if you are dealt an eight of hearts, five of hearts and a king of hearts one time and then the next time you receive the same or similar hand but notice that several cards of the same suit are already down on the table you will have a more difficult time in making your hand. This is why it is so important to take your opponents cards into account when playing your hand. You don’t want to put money into the pot trying for a hand that you will never be able to make.
Ok, now it is time to move on to specific starting hands.
The best starting hand that you will ever be able to start out with are three aces. Three of a kind is always a powerful hand to start out with especially if they are high cards. Whenever I am fortunate enough to start out with three of a kind I like to start out betting. This serves two purposes. It gets more money into the pot and forces players with weaker hands to fold. By forcing players to fold you have fewer players that may draw a card on a later round that will beat you.
I also like playing the following starting hands – high and middle pairs, flush and straight draws.
Examples of high pairs that I like to play are Aces, Kings Queens, Jacks and Tens. When you are dealt one of these pairs take a look at the cards on the table and see if one of your cards has been dealt to an opponent. If not then you can decide to raise or just call. Personally I like to play aggressively. If after checking my opponents up cards I see that I have a chance to keep improving my hand, I would raise. But if it looks like there are a lot of betters at the table it is quite possible that someone may have been dealt three of a kind or maybe even a higher pair than what I have been dealt. If I think that is the situation I may call if none of my cards have been dealt, if they have I would probably just fold.
I consider a middle pair to be a pair of nines, eights, sevens and sixes. Remember to check your opponents cards and see if one of your middle pair cards have been dealt. If they have not been dealt then I would play the hand.
I consider myself to be on a flush draw when I have been dealt three suited cards. I prefer to play a flush draw when the cards are higher. I also prefer it if the cards are close together. For example, I’d consider playing 10 of hearts, Jack of hearts and King of hearts. I probably would not play a hand that consisted of 3 of clubs, 6 of clubs, and 9 of clubs. Playing flush draws that consist of high cards that are closely grouped gives you a chance to make a big flush and also to make a straight.
You may even be able to pair up your high cards or to even make a set (three of a kind). You also might make high pairs or trips. Of course, check the other cards that have been dealt. Make sure you are not chasing a hand that you can’t make. Also be aware of what your opponents are doing? Are their multiple raises and re-raises? Someone may have been dealt three of a kind and you may want to consider folding.
I will play straight draws that are high cards, if the cards are in sequence and none of my cards have been dealt to an opponent. To me, this is a calling hand. A couple of examples of playable straight draws are – Ten, Jack, Queen and Jack, Queen, King.
As the game progresses the hand you are trying for can change pretty quickly. One minute you are on a Flush draw and the next thing you know you have two high pairs and you are looking to make a full house. Each step of the way, assess if you have the best hand, is your current hand good enough to win or do you need to improve it, what are your chances of making the best hand and of course if the cards to make the best hand is still available to you.
When you feel that you have little chance to win you are always better off folding and saving your money. Poker players that win money are the ones who know when to fold and save money. The key to winning money in poker is to minimize the amount of money on any hand that you lose and to maximize the amount of money that you win.
Being aware of what cards the other players have been dealt and what they are doing (betting, raising, calling) is very important when playing Seven-Card Stud. You need to pay attention and see if cards that are important to your hand have been dealt. Also, see if any of the other players have a pair showing or if it looks like they may be on a flush or straight draw.
After every round you must try to figure out what each player has, did the last card that they receive help them, what are the cards that will improve your hand, Is your hand good enough to win or what is the likelihood that you can make a hand that will win.
After the final card is dealt its time to figure out what your opponent has relative to your hand. Look at their up cards and see what the best possible hand that they could have is. If you are sure that you are beat fold. If not then you can at least call the final bet especially if there is only one player left in the hand. At this point you would only be risking one big bet (you’d risk $4 in a $2/$4 limit game) for the chance to win the entire pot.
Stud takes a lot of concentration but with a little practice you can be a winning player.