Seven Card Stud has always been one of the most popular poker variants, any dedicated poker player should add it to their game along with 7 card stud 8 or better. In this introduction, we will discuss the rules of 7 Card Stud, followed by the best seven Card Stud starting hands.
7 Card Stud is a game for 2-8 players, using a single, standard deck of 52 playing cards. Each player is dealt 7 cards throughout the hand – 3 to start, then one more per betting round. The player who develops the strongest 5-card poker hand from their 7 cards wins the pot.
7 Card Stud is generally played in a fixed limit betting structure, though No Limit and Pot Limit games may be found on occasion. 7 Card Stud requires an ante bet from each player, followed by a forced bring-in bet from one player to kick off the first betting round. These are each defined below.
Fixed Limit – This restricts players to a specific bet/raise amount through the hand. The first two betting rounds require bets/raises equal to the low bet. The last three betting rounds require bets/raises equal to the high bet. For example, in $2/$4 FL 7 Card Stud, $2 is the low bet, and $4 is the high bet.
Ante – the Ante is a small wager equal to anywhere from 10-25% of the low bet. Every player must place an ante before the cards are dealt.
Bring-In – Equal to 50% of the low bet, the Bring-In is placed by the player showing the lowest Open Card after the initial deal, known as the Door Card. When two or more players tie for the lowest door card, lowest suit defines the Bring-In bettor. Suits run alphabetically lowest to highest, Club, Diamond, Heart, Spade.
Once each player posts the Ante Bet, the deal will give each player 3 cards. The first two are dealt face-down as hidden hole cards. The third is dealt face-up as the Door Card. The player with the lowest door card places the bring-in to start the first betting round. Players must bet or raise the low bet amount, or Fold. The bring-in bettor can bet or raise by making up the difference and adding it to his bring-in. When all players have acted, calling the current bet or folding, the hand continues.
4th Street: The fourth card is dealt to each player, followed by another round of betting. From here on out, the player with the highest open hand (all cards showing) starts off the betting round.
5th Street: The fifth card is dealt to each player, then another betting round. For the remainder of the hand, all bets/raises increase to match the high bet stakes.
6th Street: A sixth card is dealt to each player, than another betting round.
7th Street: the final, seventh cards are dealt, then the last betting round takes place.
Showdown: All players remaining in the hand (those that didn’t fold) show their best 5-card poker hand. The highest ranking poker hand wins the entire pot. Note that at any point in the hand, if all but one player folds, the remaining player instantly wins the current pot and a new hand begins.
Out of Cards: It is possible to run out of cards before the 7th Street is dealt. This happens when there are 8 players and no one folds. Though very rare, in such cases, the 7th Street is dealt as a community card, face up in the centre of the table. All player assume this to be their own 7th card.
Seven Card Stud Starting Hands
In order to increase your chance of winning at Seven Card Stud, you should begin the game with a great starting hand. A good starting hand in 7 Card Stud is one that gives the player several outs to a better hand. Great starting hands are:
Trips (3 of a Kind, such as 8-8-8)
3 Card Flush (all cards of the same suit)
3 Card Straight (3 cards in sequence, such as 9-10-J
3 Suited Connectors (3 same suits with connecting cards, such as 5h-6h-8h)
High Pair (such as Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces)
Low to Middle Pair + high Kicker (such as 5-5-A or 7-7-K)
These are the best starting hands in 7 Card Stud. Another good starting hand is when you have an Ace in the Door Card position. In such cases, you can bluff your way to an early win no matter what else you are holding, so long as no other player has a Door Card higher than 9. However, bluffing is recommended for players with at least a little experience playing 7 Card Stud.
You can learn more about bluffing in our 7 Card Stud Strategy Guide