7-Card Stud is considered to be one of those classical kinds of poker, though in case you are sure that traditional Texas Hold’em is not a challenge for you anymore, you definitely should try 7-Card Stud. This game is all about making the best 5-cards combination out of 7 cards in hand. The core principle of 7-Card Stud is to remember all the dealt cards and be fully aware of your starting hand potential. Despite the fact that 7-Card Stud in many ways is played the same way as many of the classical poker games due to the similarity of the winning combinations, though it has a range of differential peculiarities which worth to pay attention at.
One of the key differences of 7-Card Stud is that no Blinds are used here to start the betting round or the entire game. Here all of the players should place bets in the same amount depending on the set table limits.
Each player should make a forced bet which is also called Ante. The volume of this kind of obligatory stake depends on the table limits, usually varies from 10-25% of the minimal required bet. On the most frequent occasions the 7-Card Stud is played with the fixed stakes limits.
The most important thing here is to stay patient as those really strong starting hands, which will guarantee the immediate win, may occur quite rarely. That’s why before folding your cards right after the flop, you should make a narrow investigation and conduct the deep analysis of all the potential variants with your dealt cards.
The Main Rules
As opposed to most of the poker games, here you won’t face any community cards. Each player here is dealt 7 cards in the whole. All the players who managed to reach the final round are to make the best 5-cards combination out of 7 cards in the hand. As usual, this game is played using a standard 52 card deck. Namely the number of cards determines the number of people, who can play in a single game session. The number of players in Seven Card Stud varies from two to maximum eight. And now let us observe the whole game process in the right order. As opposed to Texas Hold'em and Omaha poker, Seven-card stud is played with bet limits only. In 7-card stud you won’t find any Pot Limit or No Limit types of the game. In the current article we’ll consider the following example: 7-Card Stud with fixed limit $10/$20.
Before the dealer deals the first cards to the players starting from his left clockwise the table, each player should make an obligatory stake, which is also called the Ante. The amount of the Ante is usually about 1/5 of the minimal table limit. Ante plays the same role here as Blinds in traditional Texas Hold’em – it is placed to start filling the pot.
So the first deal is the following: all the players are dealt two down cards. Once the dealer has dealt two down cards for each player, he deals one more card, but this time face up. All the cards dealt face up are to stay on the table. So now each player has one face up and three face down cards. The first betting round is called «Third Street» and it is to be started with the player showing the highest card by rank and suit.
Suits are ranked from the highest to the lowest: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs.
The player with the lowest card showing is required to make a forced bet known as the «Bring-In» bet. This bet is usually set by the table. Following our example, with $10/$20 limits, here the Ante will be equal to $2. After the bring-in bet was made by the next player on the immediate left of the player making the bring-in bet and has the option of folding, calling or raising the bet as usual. The amount of raise in the first round of the game shouldn’t exceed $10 (the lower limit of the table). Each round allows only one bet from each player and three raises, consequently the maximum bet in this particular case is $40.
After all the players made their bets the dealer deals another face up card traditionally called “Fourth Street». On the cards dealt, another betting round starts with the player showing the highest hand. The amount of raise in the first round of the game shouldn’t exceed $10 (the lower limit of the table). A player showing a pair is allowed to bet $20 (the high table limit). After this all players starting from the left of the player showing the best cards, are to make their decisions.
After the second betting round, the next card to come is also face up and is called «Fifth Street». So till this moment each player has 5 cards in total: 3 face up cards and 2 hole cards. The amount of the first bet in this round is $20. The next betting round again starts with the player showing the highest hand.
So the third betting round is over and the dealer deals the last face up card to each player and this round is called the «Sixth Street». Again the betting round starts with the player showing the highest visible cards and the bets’ volume exceed in accordance with the high limit.
And after the betting round, the dealer deals the last card to each player and this card is dealt face down. In poker community the last card in the Seven Card Stud is often referred to as «down and dirty». This card is followed by the final betting round and the amount of required bet is stable.
Now each player uses five of his seven cards to make up his final hand. On deciding which combination is better, all players reveal their cards and the best of these card combinations wins the pot.
As you may have already learnt, the game rules exclude the community cards as all the players have enough cards to form a hand. Though sometimes, in case the game is played by 8 or 7 players, concerning the fact that the deck consists only of 52 cards, there may be not enough cards to deal to all of the players. There are at least two ways of solving this problem:
- In those cases where the number of players exceeds the possible 7 cards to each player, the dealer may deal the burn cards as the additional ones.
- The second and probably, the most appropriate variant, is to deal the community card (or cards). These cards or a card will be common for all the players at the table so each of them will have an opportunity to use the additional card or cards to form the best (Note: In case any of the players folded, and there are still not enough cards for the game, the discarded cards are not to be used as common or additional. The reason behind this restriction is that some players use the information they receive from the face up cards to make their strategic decisions and when seeing the folded cards and keeping them in mind may be sure that any of them will appear in the opponent’s hand once again.) possible hand with his individual cards. To avoid such cases we recommend you to play 7-Card Stud with a limited amount of players (up to 7). However, sometimes the community card may add some chilly spice to some nothing to write home about game.
Here is a small tip for you to distinguish a potentially strong starting hand in 7-Card Stud, first of all it has to match at least one or all of the following conditions:
- It should make a pair or Three of a kind. In case you have a Three of a kind, you may be sure that you have a strong starting hand. High cards pairs are also considered to be strong ones. Though a pair may sometimes be a risky choice and require some potentially supporting cards in a course of the game;
- Cards of the same suit ;
- Connected cards (cards which may potentially become the main part of the future winning combination).
In 7–Card Stud it is crucial to know where to start from. As opposed to pot limit or no limit poker, here any cards which do not correspond to the abovementioned conditions are to be folded. As the table requires the fixed limits here it is much more difficult to cut your opponents out the pot.
It is also notable that in 7–Card Stud the Three of a Kind as well as Two Pairs will win more often than any other starting hand, though a pair will anyway have fewer chances. Despite the fact that this game doesn’t involve any special rules, just be aware of this fact when you decide to raise.
Here everything depends on your ability to read the opponent as well as the ability to timely place the consciously chosen amount.
Strategy – Analyze the Open Cards
As you may have already noticed, the visible cards may give you the most comprehensive information on your Outs (combinations) as well as on the possible combinations of your opponent. So observing the visible cards on the table, you should keep in mind the following:
- In case you have the low/average pair like 3-3 for instance, it’s highly important that the visible cads of your opponent do not include the remaining 3s. On the other hand – it’s better for you to fold.
- The closer the end of the game – the more cards were revealed and the more attention you should pay to the visible cards of your opponents. You should pay special attention to those visible cards which were discarded by the players who have already left the game. This will give you the maximum opportunities to find the best strategy.
- You’ll always have the goods on your opponents in case you combine your skill of remembering the dealt cards and retain the control over the possible combinations with your individual cards. This will give you a nice opportunity to attach your priorities during the betting rounds as well as prevent you from making the snap decisions in a course of the game.
When the Stakes are Doubled
While you have the necessary starting hand, the fourth street will usually facilitate the game. As a matter of fact in case your opponent’s visible cards don’t seem to be strong enough, it’s always better to start your game after receiving the 4th card, so that the outlook starts improving. However when it comes to the 5th card, the bet doubles and in case your potential combination still doesn’t stand out – your best decision will be to fold. In this critical moment if you’re still in the game – there is a high chance that you’ll see the last cards in this game.
Remember one thing, making an additional bet or raise is highly important in case you are underway towards the high combination. This will not only assist you in filling in the pot, but will also help you to get rid of those weak hands, trying to kick you out of the pot by means of bluffing. It is also important to keep the bank in a small amount, when you still have not decided on your combination. In this case, it will be easier for you to call a bet, rather than increase it.