Seven Card Stud Poker: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering the Game

How to play seven card stud poker
Reading time: 7 minutes

Seven Card Stud Poker is one of the most traditional forms of poker and was one of the most popular poker variations before Texas Hold’em’s surge in the 00s. Despite its popularity waning slightly over the past couple of decades, it is still commonly played online.

In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know to master the game of seven-card stud, including the rules, the betting structure, the hand rankings, and where you can find online games. Let’s dive straight into it…

The Basics of Seven-Card Stud Poker

Like most poker games, the basic objective of seven card stud is to have the strongest poker hand and win the pot. To do this, players must create the best hand possible from a set of seven cards with which they are dealt. The cards are dealt out to each player in 4 separate rounds.

Players are initially dealt 3 cards. This is followed by a round of betting. The next 4 cards are then dealt one at a time, with a round of betting in between. Once players have been dealt all seven cards and bets have been called, all players reveal their hands. The player with the best 5-card hand wins the pot.

Players must create the best hand possible from a set of seven cards…

Seven Card Stud Poker Rules

If you’re more used to flop games or community card games, stud poker may be difficult to adjust to at the beginning. However, stud poker games are relatively straightforward and easy to learn.

To start a game, players place an ante, which is a nominal bet to buy into the hand. The dealer then proceeds to deal three cards to each player, 2 face-down (hole cards) and 1 face-up (door cards). This is known as third street. The first betting round begins once the cards are dealt. Players can bet, call, check (depending on the position at the table), raise, or fold. Once all players have acted and the bet has been called, the game moves onto fourth street.

Fourth Street follows the same pattern as third street, except the dealer deals only one card face up. Betting rounds take place between Fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh street, which is also called the River. All deals carry out in the exact same manner, except for the river. This final card is placed face down. Players should have four exposed cards and three hidden cards.

Once all hands are revealed, the player able to produce the strongest hard with 5 of their cards wins the pot.

It’s worth noting that Seven-card stud is a fixed-limit game, meaning the size of the bets and the raises are predetermined.

How to Play Seven Card Stud Poker

Now that we have the basic rules covered of seven card stud, let’s take go through a standard hand, step-by-step

  1. Ante: At the start of a hand, all players chip in an ante. This is a nominal amount usually around 10% of the bet. So if you are playing a $1/$2 game, the ante would be 10 cents.
  2. Third Street: Once every player has posted an ante, the dealer can begin dealing the cards. Each player is dealt 3 cards in the opening deal, 2 cards face-down and one face-up. After every player has received their cards, the first betting round begins. The player with the lowest ranking door card is known as the ‘bring-in’, and it is this player who starts off the betting. They have to put in an amount equal to the size of the ante, or else they can complete the bet. Should one more player have the same low card value, the suits determine the ‘bring-in’, with the lowest being Clubs (followed by Diamonds, Hearts and then Spades).The first three betting rounds are done using the small increment bet. So in the case of a $1/$2 bet limit, the players can only raise by $1. Also, there is usually a limit of three raises per round. Once this is reached players can only call or fold. Players have the opportunity to call, raise or fold. Once all players have acted, the dealer can move along to…
  3. Fourth Street: Players are now dealt a fourth card, face up. The betting begins with the player showing the strongest combination with their exposed cards. This player can check, fold or bet. The small bet is still used on Fourth Street, so the player can only play the small increment. Once all players have acted, the dealer can move on to the next round.
  4. Fifth Street & Sixth Street: All following streets now require players to bet in large increments. If a player wants to raise, they will have to do it in the larger ($2) increments.
    The dealer deals out one card each, face-up, on both Fifth Street and sixth street. The betting rounds proceed in the exact same manner as they have done previously but with the larger betting increment.
  5. The River: The river is the name given to the dealing of the final card. This card is usually placed face-down, but this depends on the house rules. A regular final round of betting follows.
  6. The Showdown: If two or more players are still active, players are required to show their hands. By using a combination of the seven cards they were dealt, players must arrange their best 5 card hand. Whichever player has the strongest hand at the table wins the pot.

Seven Card Stud Game Hand Rankings

The hand rankings for Seven Card Stud are similar to that of Texas Hold’em and Five Card Draw.

From strongest to weakest, here are the hand rankings for Seven-card stud:

Poker hand rankings for seven card stud

Seven Card Stud Tips and Tricks

Like almost every poker game variant, there are a lot of strategic elements to Seven Card Stud. Learning the rules is one thing, but if you want to truly master Seven card stud, you’ll need to learn some fundamental strategies of the game.

💡 Starting Hands

You should always be cautious about betting with initial weak hands. Chasing is never a smart play in any poker game unless you’ve read the game very cleverly. If you’re a novice to the game, we recommend you only begin play with strong hands. For example:

  • Three of a Kind.
  • Big to medium pairs.
  • 3-4 suit connectors.

Once you get more experience, you can add starting hands to match your style of play.

💡 Read the table & cards

It is important to take notice of which cards are exposed on the table. This vastly helps with your approach to the game. If you’re waiting on certain cards but see them already dealt out to other players, this gives you time to adapt to the hand you want to chase or play with.

Being able to memorise exposed cards, as well as mucked cards, and using that information to your advantage will make this game very profitable for you.

💡 Value your big hands…but don’t rush in

If you find yourself with a strong starting hand (similar to the ones outlined above), make sure to play these hands for value and resist the temptation to turn them into stronger hands than they already are.

Of course, it will be tempting to overplay a good starting hand in the third street betting round if you’ve got a high pair or even trips. However, you should be slow and steady in order to goad as many players as possible into the hand to make that pot nice and big.

💡 Know when to Bluff in Seven Card Stud

Bluffing is trickier in stud games than it is in flop games. This is because other players at the table know more about your hand due to your exposed cards.

A good time to bluff in seven-card stud is when your opponents are showing a mildly strong hand on the board (such as a pair or tripps) but you have royal cards exposed (J, Q, K) or four cards to a straight or flush. If you apply some pressure by betting or raising, it will be difficult for the opposing player to continue as they will think you are on course for a straight or better (depending on the cards).

Did You Know…

Stud poker originated during the American Civil War and was inspired by European games like Bragg, Nas, and Poque. It became an official poker game in 1864 when it appeared in ‘The American Hoyle’, a handbook of all the games played in the US.

Find Casinos to Play Seven Card Stud Online

As seven card stud is one of the most traditional poker games, there are plenty of online sites to play it on. Luckily for you, here at CasinoCrawlers we have rated and reviewed the best online poker sites in NZ. We recommend playing free versions of Seven Card Stud to get used to this type of poker before moving up to real money games.

The Bottom Line

Despite the popularity of Texas and Omaha Hold’em in recent years, Seven-Card Stud remains one of the most popular poker variants around the world.

What makes Seven-card Stud an attractive game to play among experienced poker players to this day is the challenging aspect of the game. Seven card stud requires players to make and adjust calculations on the basis of the numerous exposed cards. For this reason, it is a game that takes years to master.

7 Card Stud Poker FAQ

How is 7 Stud Poker played?

A common theme to Stud games is each player has their own cards that only they may use. Unlike other versions of poker, which use community cards. Some of these cards are face-up, while some as face-down cards. After the initial deal, any remaining players will end up holding three face-down cars and four face-up cards that everyone can see. Every player uses their seven cards to put together their strongest poker hand made up of five cards in total.

Because there are so many cards used in this version, as opposed to other poker variants, 7 Card Stud games are usually played with less than eight players.

This version is also always usually played as a Limit game, so all bets and raises are set in pre-determined units. For example, at a $5-$10 table, all bets up until fourth street must be in units of $5, and then in units of $10 after.

How do you win at 7 Card Stud Poker?

7 Card Stud follows your standard poker hand rankings, the same as Omaha, Hold’em, or any other high-version game. The best possible hand you can make is a royal flush, while the lowest possible holding is the high card.

What is the difference between Texas Hold'em and 7 Card Stud?

The biggest difference between playing Texas Hold'em and 7 Card Stud is that 7 Card Stud doesn't involve a flop. Also, in most cases, there are no community cards when you're playing this version of poker.

How many times can you raise in 7 Card Stud?

You can raise a maximum of three times per betting round in 7 Card Stud. There are five betting rounds in total during a game.

What are the odds of getting a straight flush in 7 Card Stud?

It's not easy to get a straight flush in 7 Card Stud! The odds of getting this hand are
72,192 to 1.

What are the rules for 7 Card Stud High Low?

Before the first round has been dealt, each player needs to post an ante which is typically around 10 or 20% of a small bet. After the first round of cards has been dealt, the player who holds the lowest face-up card (door card) starts the first round of betting. Other players can then call, raise or fold. There is a maximum of three raises for each betting round.

The remaining players are then dealt face-up cards and the player with the highest card showing starts the betting round. Players will then receive a further face-up card followed by a betting round that is again started by the player with the strongest hand showing.

A final face-up card is dealt to any player still in the hand, followed by another round of betting. The player's final downcard is then dealt to all remaining players for the final round of betting. The showdown is when each player discards two cards to make their final five-card poker hand. The best hand wins the pot.

How do you deal 7 Card Stud?

Every player is initially dealt two cards face down and one face up card (known as the door card). These are dealt one at a time in rotation. A betting interval follows this before each player receives three additional face-up cards and one face-down card with a betting interval in between. During the showdown, every player turns up all their hole cards. They select their five-card combination, discarding two cards to make their final hand.


  • Wikipedia. “Stud Poker”,
  • Youtube. “Pokernews: How to Play Seven-Card Stud | Beginners Guide”,
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Noah Adams
Noah Adams
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Noah is the senior content editor at CasinoCrawlers and a writer with many iGaming articles under his portfolio. Therefore, he is skilled at writing bonus guidelines, gambling strategies, and casino reviews. During his spare time, he enjoys playing Call of Duty and is a huge rugby fan.

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