Online Seven Card Stud Poker

Long before Hold 'em became "the game", Seven Card Stud (also called Stud Hi), was what you played when poker night came around. One part skill, one part memory, one part strategy, no parts boring.

Each player starts with two hole cards and one upcard; there are then three more rounds of upcards, with betting after each card, and a final downcard, followed by a final betting round. Each player ends up with seven cards: four face up and three face down. The player holding the best hand using any five of their cards wins the pot. As in Hold 'em, aces play both high and low.

Below is a comprehensive description of online Seven Card Stud.

Each new hand of Seven Card Stud begins with each player putting an ante into the pot. The ante is a payment into the pot before cards are dealt for the purpose of stimulating action. For example, in a $2/$4 limit game, the ante is 40 cents. Each player must ante each hand to receive cards.

When you first sit down at a table, you get dealt in immediately, after being prompted to ante. Since Stud Hi does not have blinds, you do not have to wait.

In Stud Hi, the deal position does not rotate as in blind games. The nominal deal position is indicated by a disk called the stud button. The stud button is always by the last seat, and each new deal always starts at seat 1. The first card of each succeeding round always goes to the first active player (one who either has equalled all the bets thus far, or has gone all in, that is, run out of chips with which to call) to the left of the stud button. If you rotate the table to change your position, the stud button also rotates. This makes it clear where the deal position is. This is important in those few situations in which two or more players have identical boards. After the first round, if hands are tied, the hand closest to the left of the stud button begins the betting.

When the antes are in place, the dealer distributes two cards face down to each player and then one card face up, starting with seat 1. The two downcards are called hole cards. You can tell which are your hole cards and which is your upcard, because the hole cards are situated lower than the upcard. You can see the upcards of all the other players, and they can see your upcard.

Seven Card Stud, as any form of poker, is about betting. Seven Card Stud has five betting rounds. The sizes of the bets depend on the structure of the game.

Third Street

On the first round (known as third street), the betting starts with the player having the lowest upcard. This bet is a forced bet. The bet must be at least a specified minimum, in which case it is called the bring-in, but can be more. The bring-in is usually one-fourth the lower limit. If two or more players have the same rank of upcard, who must make the bring-in is determined by suit, in reverse bridge order (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades). This is one of the few times that suits have any bearing in poker. For example, if three deuces appear on the first round in this order, 2s, 2h, 2d, the holder of the 2d would be required to make the bring-in bet.

If you have the lowest card you must make a bet. You have two choices only. You can:

  • Open for the bring-in
  • Complete the bet, that is, increase the bet to the lower limit

You choose your action by clicking in a dialog box. While you can always complete the bet, you will find players usually open for the minimum. If everyone folds, you win the antes, and the next hand is dealt.

Normally everyone would not fold for a bring-in, however. If you open for the bring-in, each succeeding player has three choices:

  • Fold
  • Call, that is, match the bring-in
  • Complete the bet, that is, increase the bet to the lower limit

If you or anyone else completes the bet, each succeeding player has three choices:

  • Fold
  • Call, that is, match the bring-in
  • Raise, that is, increase the preceding bet

Each player in turn has the same three choices. If there has been a raise, each player who chooses to continue must either call the total bet thus far or raise. In any one round of betting, there can be a maximum of one bet and three raises. The bring-in plus the completion count as one bet in the first round. For example, in a $2/$4 limit game, you open for the 50-cent bring-in, another player completes the bet to $2, and then two players raise. That makes the total bet $6. This is the equivalent of three bets, and another player could make one more raise. Doing so would cap the betting for that round, that is, cause it to reach the maximum.

If you fold for a raise, your cards are removed from play.

Fourth Street

Once the betting for the round is equalized, that is, once everyone has had an opportunity either to fold or match the total betting, the dealer deals each active player a second upcard (fourth street). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting.

On fourth and all successive streets, the betting always starts with the player showing the highest board. The software prompts you when it is your turn to act. It also presents all the options available. All you have to do is click the choice you want.

In all rounds after third street, the player first to act has two choices:

  • Check, that is, make no bet
  • Make a bet at the proper limit for that round

If no one bets, each player in turn has the same choices. It is possible in every round except third street for no betting to occur. No betting in a round is called being checked around.

If anyone bets, each succeeding player has three choices:

  • Fold
  • Call, that is, match the bring-in
  • Raise, that is, increase the preceding bet

A player who checks retains his cards. If someone bets, when the action returns, a player who previously checked has the preceding three choices. To check and then raise when the betting returns is known as check-raising. If you check with the intention of raising, you of course risk the possibility that no one will bet.

Fifth Street

Once the betting for fourth street is equalized, that is, once everyone has had an opportunity either to check or match the total betting for the round, the dealer deals each active player a third upcard (fifth street). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting. The bets on fifth street are always at the higher level.

Sixth Street

Once the betting for fifth street is equalized, the dealer deals each active player a fourth upcard (sixth street). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting. The bets on sixth street remain at the higher level.

Seventh Street

Once the betting for sixth street is equalized, the dealer deals each active player a final card, face down (seventh street or the river card). Players still in the hand participate in a final round of betting. The betting proceeds exactly the same as the three previous rounds.

Showdown

Once the betting for seventh street is equalized, the betting is over, and there is a showdown. Remaining active players show their cards and the best hand, comprised of the best five cards from among each player's seven, wins. The software determines the winning hand, and awards the pot to the holder of that hand. If there is a tie for the best hand, the pot will be split equally among the tied players. If the betting is not equalized on seventh street, that is, one player bet or raised and no one called, there is no showdown, and the software awards the pot to the player who made that uncalled bet. This is the case on any previous street, as well. If it happens on earlier streets, no further cards are dealt, because the hand is over.

Sometimes a player runs out of chips before all the betting is over. In such case, one or more side pots are created, and the software awards appropriate main and side pots. When a player is all in, a bet or raise can be made that is not called, but a showdown still takes place.

Players often do not show losing hands. You are entitled, however, to see any cards that were active at the showdown even if they were not shown. Click on “Show previous hand” to bring up a new window that shows the results of the last hand and all the active cards.

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