Seven Card Stud is a type of poker that is very different from the popular Texas Hold ‘em game of poker. Seven Card Stud is played at a poker table and can have anywhere from two to seven players. Many poker games can accommodate more than seven players but there aren’t enough cards in a 52-card deck when playing Seven Card Stud. The game starts off by having every player put an ante into the pot. This ante typically starts as a relatively small bet and is raised in even increments as the game progresses. The purpose of the ante is to ensure that there is something in the pot to encourage players to bet.
The first round of betting starts by the dealer dealing a single card to each player in a clockwise fashion starting with the person just left of the dealer. The first card that everyone receives is face down and so is the second one. The third card that the dealer gives each player is dealt face-up and revealed to all the other players. The purpose of this is to give the other players a small idea of their opponent’s cards they might want to bet against. When each player has three cards (two face down and one face up) another round of betting is started.
This first round of betting starts with the player that reveals the lowest card in their hand. The lowest card is a two and an ace is the highest in rank. The player with the lowest card is then obligated to place a bet known as the “bring in” bet. The betting continues clockwise after the first player has placed the bet. It is up to the next player (and each player after that) if they would like to call (which means match the bet of the “bring in”), raise (bet more than the amount of the “bring in”), or fold (forfeit themselves from the hand). Each player determines how they will act depending on the strength of the first three cards.
Once all players that desire to stay in the hand have bet the same amount of chips, the next card is dealt. This time only one card, the fourth card, is dealt. The dealer once again deals this card face up so that all players can see each card. At this point, each player is holding four cards in which two are closed and the other two are open (revealed to the table). This time the betting is decided by the two cards that are now showing. The player that holds the two highest cards is obligated to start off the betting. This player has the choice to check (meaning that he doesn’t want to add any more money to the pot) or bet (add more money to the pot). The other players must then call, raise, or fold.
When this second round of betting is completed, the dealer deals each player one more card face up. Now, each player has a hand that contains two original cards that are face down and three cards that all the other players can see. Another round of betting is started in the same fashion that the previous round was. Again, the betting is started by the player that has the highest cards revealed. The sixth card is dealt after this round of betting is completed. The sixth card is once again dealt face up. Now that each player has four cards face up and only two face down it is easier for players to get a feeling of what their opponent(s) might have in their hand. This will aid them in their decision to bet, raise, or fold.
Finally, after this round of betting is completed the seventh card is dealt. This card is dealt face down. This adds mystery to each player’s hand. The goal of Seven Card Stud is to make the best five card poker hand out of the seven cards in your hand. The rank of an individual player’s five card hand compared to the rank of their opponent(s) is the deciding factor when it comes to who won the pot. The hands are ranked the same as any other poker game: (starting with the smallest hand) Ace high, one pair, two pair, three of a kind, straight, flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush, and royal flush.