Introduction to Seven Card Stud

Seven card stud is another variant of poker, and while it may not be as immensely popular as Texas Hold ‘em, it was easily the most played poker game for many years. It wasn’t until the 1970s that Texas Hold ‘em came along and started to get popular. However, seven card stud is still just as regularly played.

What is Seven Card Stud?

In this poker game, the players (up to eight) are individually dealt seven cards throughout the course of the hand, but only the best five-card poker hand for each player is used to determine the winner of the game. It can be played one of two ways: either high only, which means that the highest hand wins, or hi/lo, meaning the highest hand splits the winnings with the lowest hand.

High Only

In high only, each player places an ante into the pot and then receives two down cards, otherwise known as hole cards, and one face-up card. The player with the lowest face-up card has to start the betting action with an initial bet called the “bring-in.” This must be at least the required minimum amount agreed upon before the game. Play continues to the left with either calls, raises or folds. After betting, a fourth card is dealt face-up to each player who has not folded. The player with the highest hand showing starts the action. Then, a fifth card is dealt face-up followed by a round of betting, and then a sixth card is dealt face-up followed by yet another round of betting. Finally, the seventh card is dealt to each player face-down and the final round of betting ensues.


In this variant of seven card stud, the winner with the high hand must split the pot with the best low hand. There will always be a high hand winner, but not always a low. A qualifying low hand is defined as five unpaired cards, all with ranks at or below eight. Aces are considered low for the low hand, flushes and straights do not count for the low, meaning the best low hand possible is A, 2, 3, 4, 5. If there is no winning low hand, the entire pot is awarded to the player with the winning high hand.

The Rules of Seven Card Stud

In order to properly play the game, it’s essential to start with the basics. Seven card stud is usually played with a limited betting structure, in which the best hands are in fixed increments.


Before the game even begins, all of the players ante an amount, which depends on the game, and this is the cost of being dealt into the hand.

Third Street

To start the game, each player is dealt three cards, two hidden hole cards and one face-up. The player that has the lowest exposed card is the “bring-in” and is the player who starts the action. They must either make another bed, or a full bet of the lower betting increment. Play continues clockwise around the table until the betting is complete.

Fourth Street

Every player is dealt another exposed card, otherwise known as the “fourth street.” The player with the highest exposed card is to act first and another round of betting ensues clockwise around the table.


At fifth street, each player will have two hidden cards, and three exposed cards.

Fifth Street

Each player receives another exposed card, and the first player to act is that who has exposed cards of the highest poker value. Then, another round of betting starts.

Sixth Street

Follow the same rules as above.

Seventh Street

Each player gets a seventh and final card, which is dealt face down and known only the player to whom the card is dealt. The player to act first is that whose exposed cards have the highest poker value, and there is a final betting round.

The Showdown

The showdown happens in virtually every variant of poker, and seven card stud is no different. If there is more than one remaining player when the final betting round has finished, the last player who bet shows his or her cards. Then every player shows his or her cards clockwise around the table. The player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot. In the event of a tie, the pot will be equally divided between those players with the best hands.

Out of 7 cards, you may only choose 5 for your final hand.

Out of 7 cards, you may only choose 5 for your final hand.

Seven Card Stud Tips

Here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind as you play the game:

Know Your Opponents’ Cards

Having a good memory in this game is essential to being a successful player. All good seven card stud players should remember what their opponents’ cards were before they folded. This way, the player will already know what cards are still out there and know which ones are already gone.

Practice Makes Perfect

The only way to get better at the game is to practice until you know the ins and outs of seven card stud. This is how you develop your personal strategy and learn to adapt to different situations that play out on the table. Over time, you’ll be able to better control your emotions and operate well under pressure.

Search for Tells

When playing, look for certain actions that may give away your opponents’ hands. They are often a subtle and involuntary action that gives off a certain amount of nerves or anxiety, signifying that they’re worried about their hand. However, be on the lookout for false tells – experienced poker players produce false tells to throw off their opponents. An online poker tell could be when a player takes longer than normal to take his or her turn or strays away from his or her normal patterns.

Learn When to Fold

Because you don’t have to play every hand, folding is common. It’s something that you shouldn’t be afraid to do, because it may be your best option in some games. It could save you money on bets and give you more room to bluff later on.

Know When to Bluff

While bluffing is a common strategy in seven card stud, it’s not something that should be done often. That way, other players may start to catch on to what you’re doing.