Seven Card Stud Overview

Before Texas Holdem became the king of poker, Seven Card Stud was the game of choice for basically all live casinos and home games around the world. The origins of Seven Card Stud are largely unknown but the game is believed to have originated some time during the American Civil War.

But even before that, 7 Card Stud has roots that date back to the ancient German card game “Pochspiel” and the Persian game “As Nas.” There are no definite links, however, so even that much is debatable.

What we do know is that poker was played on the steamboats in New Orleans as early as 1829. The game that was played then wasn’t exactly Seven Card Stud but it’s easy to see how that game could have evolved to become what would later be known as “Seven Card Stud.”

Throughout the middle 1800s and much of the 1900s, 7 Card Stud spread across the United States and eventually around the world. Up until the 1980s, Seven Card Stud was the main game at casinos and home games. In the 1980s, Seven Card Stud took a back seat to Texas Holdem but it never completely died. Today, you can still find plenty of Seven Card Stud games at poker sites and live casinos. You will also see various Seven Card Stud variations being played.

How to Play

Seven Card Stud is an “ante” game, which means that everyone pays a small amount of money to the pot at the beginning of each hand. Because it must be paid every hand by every person, the ante is pretty small. In an average game, the ante is equal to about 10% the size of the upper betting limit. In a game of $10/$20 stud, the ante would be $2.00.

Third Street:

After everyone pays the antes, each player is dealt two cards face down and one card face up. The person who has the lowest card showing must pay the “bring-in,” which is another mandatory bet equal to half the size of the lower betting limit.

After the bring-in is paid, that person begins the first round of betting. That person may “complete” the bring-in by raising it up to the full minimum bet amount or he may leave it as it is. The betting continues to the left around the table with each player having the choice to call the current bet, raise or fold.

Fourth Street:

One card is dealt face up to each player. Another round of betting follows but from here on out, the betting begins with the player who has the best hand showing. The first person may check, bet or fold and then the betting continues to the left.

Fifth Street:

One card is dealt face up to each player. This is followed by another round of betting. From this point on, the upper betting limit is used for all bets and raises.

Sixth Street:

One card is dealt face up to each player and there is another round of betting.

Seventh Street:

Each player is dealt one card face down. This is followed by a final round of betting. The player with the best 5 card poker hand (out of that player’s 7 cards) wins the pot.

Basic Strategy

Seven Card Stud is an easy game to learn but it is notoriously difficult to master. In the beginning, you’ll want to work on keeping track of your opponents’ cards, knowing which starting hands are strong and playing with aggression.

Keep Track of Your Opponents’ Up Cards

The first skill you should learn as a new 7 Card Stud player is keeping track of the up-cards at the table. Your opponents will have many cards showing and you can use that information to judge the relative strength of your hand.

For example, if you are dealt a hand that looks like it could turn into a flush, you’ll want to see if any of the other players at the table are showing cards of the same suit. If they are, you’ll know that your odds of catching a flush are a little bit smaller for each flush card showing in your opponents’ hands.

Choosing Strong Starting Hands

Sure, any starting hand can turn into a winner, but the odds are against it. One of the most common mistakes for new players is playing too many starting hands for too long. If you continually play poor starting hands, you’ll cost yourself a lot of money in the long run. It’s just not worth investing money in the pot with sub par hands.

First of all, you’ll want to use the skill we talked about above and judge the relative strength of your hand against the up cards that are showing at the table. If the cards you need are showing, you might as well ditch the hand now rather than hope for a miracle draw.

Other than that, you’ll want to look for starting hands that have a good chance of turning into something powerful. Hands like three of a kind, three high cards to a flush, three connected cards and medium pairs are all pretty decent as long as you don’t see a bunch of the cards you need in other players’ hands.

Playing With Aggression

You should play your strong hands fast and your weak hands slow in the beginning. If you start out with a big pair in the hole, you should start betting right away for two reasons: to get more money in the pot and to make your opponents pay to draw against you.

Playing with aggression does not mean playing like a maniac. That’s a fast way to lose your money .What it means is playing your strong hands fast and then folding your weak hands without hesitation. The more you stick around with weak hands in the hopes of getting lucky, the worse off you’ll be in the long run.

Finding a Solid Poker Site for 7 Card Stud

Most online poker sites offer Seven Card Stud but few poker sites are worth playing at. The biggest thing you’ll want to look for in choosing a 7 Card Stud site is the player traffic. It can be almost impossible to get a good game going at a smaller site because there simply aren’t enough players.

The bigger sites have many thousands of players online at a time and their 7 Card Stud tables usually have plenty of action. On top of that, if you stick with bigger poker sites, you’ll be in safer hands with a poker site that has earned a reputation for honesty and security.

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