7 Card Stud Poker Game

Quick play overview

Play proceeds as follows (“player” refers only to those who have not folded and are still in the game), with betting rounds in-between.

Betting is clockwise, the player with the highest poker hand showing starts (ie 2-2 beats K-Q).

2 cards dealt face down to each player, 1 card dealt face up
upcard to each player
upcard to each player
upcard to each player
downcard to each player
Showdown
Mnemonic: Two down, four up, one down.

Play Rules

The game begins with each player being dealt two cards face down and one card face up. If played with a bring-in, the player with the lowest-ranking upcard pays the bring-in, and betting proceeds after that in normal clockwise order.

The bring-in is considered an open, so the next player in turn may not check. If two players have equally ranked low cards, suit may be used to break the tie and assign the bring-in (see high card by suit).

If there is no bring-in, then the first betting round begins with the player showing the highest-ranking upcard, who may check. In this case, suit should not be used to break ties. If two players have the same high upcard, the one first in clockwise rotation from the dealer acts first.

After the first betting round, another upcard is dealt to each player (after a burn card, and starting at the dealer’s left as will all subsequent rounds), followed by a second betting round beginning with the player whose upcards make the best poker hand.

Since fewer than five cards are face up, this means no straights, flushes, or full houses will count for this purpose. On this and all subsequent betting rounds, the player whose face-up cards make the best poker hand will act first, and may check or bet up to the game’s limit.

The second round is followed by a third upcard and betting round, a fourth upcard and betting round, and finally a downcard, a fifth betting round, and showdown if necessary. Seven-card stud can be summarized therefore as “two down, four up, one down”. Upon showdown, each player makes the best five-card poker hand he can out of the seven cards he was dealt.

You may note that seven cards to eight players plus four burn cards makes 60 cards, and there are only 52 in the deck. In most games this is not a problem because several players will have folded in early betting rounds.

But there are certainly low-stakes home games where few if any players fold. If this is the case in your game, you may want to limit the game to seven players. If the deck does become exhausted during play, previously-dealt burn cards can be used when only a few cards are needed to complete the deal.

If even those are not sufficient, then on the final round instead of dealing a downcard to each player, a single community card is dealt to the center of the table, and is shared by everyone (that is, each player treats it as his seventh card). Under no circumstances can any discarded card from a folded hand be “recycled” for later use.

Unlike draw poker, where no cards are ever seen before showdown, stud poker players use the information they get from face-up cards to make strategic decisions, and so a player who sees a certain card folded is entitled to make decisions knowing that the card will never appear in another opponent’s hand.

THE BUY-IN

You must buy-in a minimum amount of chips when sitting down at your chosen table. The minimum limit is equal to ten times the lower bet limit of the game. For example on a $1/$2 table the minimum buy-in is $10, on a $5/$10 table the minimum buy-in is $50.

SIT DOWN

Up to 8 players plus a dealer are seated around a table.

ANTE

You like all other players must ante before any cards are dealt. The amount of the ante reflects the table limits. The lower the limit, the lower the ante. $1.00/$2.00 tables have an ante of $0.25, and $10.00/$20.00 tables have a $1.00 ante.

BETTING

You are dealt two down cards (“Hole” cards) and one up card. The player showing the lowest card by suit (highest to lowest: spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs) must bring-in the first round of betting with a forced bet of half the lower limit. The player who is to begin the betting will be prompted.

After the initial bet, three more up cards are delivered (with a round of betting after each card), then a final down card and a final round of betting. There are betting limits at each table. The stakes being offered at the particular table determine the limit or maximum bet on any player’s turn. For example, at a $1-$2 table, the limit on any bet is $1 on the first two betting rounds and $2 on the final three betting rounds.

We allow one bet and three raises in our card room. The final raise is capped and the only options you have are to call or fold at this point. The action of the first two rounds is set at the lower limit of the table structure. The exception to this rule is when a player shows a pair after the 4th street the bet is the lower limit multiplied by two.
All players have the option to bet the higher limit for the second round of betting. If a player does bet the higher limit, subsequent bets must also be at the higher limit.

THE SHOWDOWN

Any five of your seven cards can be used to make up your best poker hand. The best poker hand wins the pot. Should multiple hands tie, the pot is split with any odd amount going to the player immediately to the left of the dealer.
If all eight players are still in the hand on the river, the total number of cards needed for all the players to receive their own card would not be available in a standard deck of cards. In this case the river card will be dealt face up on the table and it will be used as a community card.

START AGAIN

After a hand is completed and the pot taken by the winner, the dealer button is moved one player to the left and the next hand begins.

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