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7 Card Stud Rules

Page summary: A review of the strategy and rules for playing 7 Card Stud.

7 Card Stud Rules - How to Play 7 Card Stud

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7 Card Stud is probably one of the most popular online poker games behind Texas Holdem. This poker variant makes things interesting with four face up cards and three hole cards. Players may find that the strategy slightly differs from Holdem when playing 7 Card Stud. Generally, 7 Card Stud, like 5 Card Stud, is a high card game. Big hands, such as straights, flushes and boats are not usually going to take huge pots in 7 Card Stud.


In 7 Card Stud, the game is usually played with antes instead of blinds. The ante is determined by a percentage of the limit. If you are playing $2/$4 limit 7 Card Stud, the ante is probably going to be 5-10% of $4. If it's 10%, each player would put $0.40 as an ante into the pot each hand before the cards are dealt.

Once the antes are collected, each player is dealt three cards. The first two cards are face down and are referred to as hole cards.

The third card is face up. To start the betting, the bring-in needs to be determined. The bring-in refers to the player with the lowest card that is showing face up. If two players have the same card, suit rank will be the deciding factor. Suit rank works alphabetically - clubs being the lowest and spades the highest. The bring-in is required to start the betting with a predetermined bring-in amount. This is commonly referred to as the forced bet or the force-in. The action goes clockwise around the table following the bring-in.

Upon conclusion of the first round of betting, we come to fourth street. Each player is dealt a fourth card face up followed by a second round of betting. Fifth street is dealt with each player receiving another card face up. The third round of betting takes place and sixth street is dealt with each player receiving their last face up card. A fourth round of betting occurs and then comes seventh street. On seventh street, each player is dealt a hole card (face down). The final round of betting takes place and then there is a showdown if necessary.

Hand Strength

Know your hand strengths and what starting hands are playable for the game you're playing. As previously mentioned, 7 Card Stud is a high card game where pairs and two pairs usually win the pots. The four shown cards for each player make big hands hard to conceal and therefore big pots are not usually won by the monsters.

In 7 Card Stud, the hands rank as such:

  1. Royal Flush (A,K,Q,J,10 of matching suits)
  2. Straight Flush (straight with all matching suits)
  3. Four Of A Kind (four cards having the same value)
  4. Full House (three of a kind and a pair of different value)
  5. Flush (five cards in the same suit)
  6. Straight (five cards of ascending value)
  7. Three Of A Kind (three cards of the same rank)
  8. Two Pair (two different pairs)
  9. Pair (two cards of the same rank)
  10. No Pair - High Card

If no one makes a hand, the player with the highest card remaining in the hand wins.


Position is important and should be mentioned when referring to any poker game; however, position changes in significance in 7 Card Stud due to the exposed cards. Unlike 5 Card Stud, you have two hole cards meaning that there is more of the unknown. The unknown makes position play stronger and it should definitely be utilized. Use check-raises and bet according to your position. Keep in mind that if you're on a big draw, you want the draw to materialize quickly or get out of the hand. As the hand progresses, everything is exposed until 7th street.

Playable Starting Hands:

  • Trips of any value - High - play aggressive, Low - play slow till 4th or 5th street
  • Pairs - Be careful of over cards on the board (cards being exposed)
  • High Over Cards - If your overs are higher than the board
  • Flush Draw w/ 3 Cards - Be sure to have two high cards
  • Straight Draw w/ 3 Cards - Be sure to be drawing on a high straight
  • 3 Card Straight Flush Draw - Be observant, watch which cards have been exposed

If you don't catch the straight or flush draws by 4th-5th street, watch the betting and don't get caught being a chaser that never hits and now rests with a depleted bankroll.

7 Card Stud is an exciting format of poker that requires players to know their hand strengths to determine which hands are playable. In any poker game where the opponent's cards are exposed for the most part, being an observant player is crucial. Know which cards are live and which are dead - meaning which cards have been exposed and which have not. Are you drawing dead? Watch your position and analyze player's betting habits and tendencies. The key to being successful is knowing when to be in and when to be out. Capitalize off of your opponent's weaknesses.