Seven-Card Stud Poker
Seven-Card Stud is the most popular variation of stud poker- and before the rise of Texas Hold ’em, was the most commonly played of any poker game. It can be played between two to eight players.
Before the cards are dealt in a game of Seven-Card Stud, each player places an ante bet – a fraction of a full bet – in the pot. In a $20-$40 game, the value of the ante is usually around $3.
The Bring-in and Third Street
In the first betting round, known as third street, each player is dealt three cards, one of which is placed face up on the table and two of which are hole cards (hidden by the player).
In Seven-Card Stud, the player whose exposed card has the lowest rank is required to make a blind bet known as a "bring-in". This bet is considered open, so the next player whose turn it is to act isn’t allowed to check.
If two players’ exposed cards share the same lowest rank, the suit of the two cards determines the bring-in player, according to the alphabetical order of the suit names (clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades, with clubs having the lowest rank).
After the bring-in, play continues in clockwise order around the table, starting from the left of the player who posted the bring-in. In turn, each player can choose to fold, call the bring-in or raise the bring-in to a full bet.
Once a full bet is placed, each player can choose to fold, call or raise the bet.
At "fourth street" in Seven-Card Stud, each player is dealt a second face-up card. Betting and raising proceeds at the "small" betting increment (the smaller betting value, as in $20 in a $20-$40 game). However, play starts from this street onwards with the player who has the highest-ranking exposed cards.
In all streets from this one on, players can choose to bet, raise or check. Checking involves not placing a bet but still remaining in the play. Once a bet is down, players can no longer check.
In Seven-Card Stud rules, any player who has an exposed pair can choose to double the stakes. If this occurs, all bets and raises must be at the big bet value ($40, for example).
In most cases, a maximum of three to four raises per betting round are allowed.
Fifth and Sixth Streets
At "fifth street", betting doubles – unless it has already doubled because a player had an exposed open pair. So bets and raises must be at the big bet value.
At fifth and again at sixth street, each player is dealt an additional face-up card. This brings the total number of face-up cards for each player to four, with two hidden hole cards.
At "seventh steet", which is also known as the "river", each player receives a final face-down card. The players then use their three hole cards and four exposed cards to determine their best five-card poker hands.
A player wins by Seven-Card Stud either because all other players fold or because their cards have the highest rank in a showdown, in which all remaining players show their hands.