As previously mentioned, Seven Card Stud was one of the original games of poker. The game is still played on online poker sites mainly, and there are some tournaments who feature Seven Card Stud as well. The idea behind Seven Card Stud is to make the best possible five card hand that you can, out of seven cards. Each player plays their own hand though, and there is no community cards, like in Hold’em and Omaha.
Everyone puts in an ante to start off, and players are first dealt two cards face down, and one card face up. The player with the smallest card showing will then “bring in”. Bringing in is a forced bet in order to start the action. Play will then resume with a round of betting. Seven Card Stud is played mainly as a limit game, meaning that there are set betting limits. After that, each player who is still in the hand is dealt another card face up, and the player with the BEST hand showing will start the betting now. Then comes another card face up, followed by another round of betting, all the way until the last card (the 7th); which is then dealt face down to each player. The final round of betting occurs, and players then show what they have and the best five card hand will win the pot.
There isn’t an incredible amount of bluffing in Seven Card Stud, as it is more of a strategy game. Players should read the other players up cards in order to get a feel for what cards they still have available to them. For example, if you have three diamonds after 4 cards are dealt, but there are 6 other diamonds showing in other players up cards, this means that there are only 4 more diamonds in the deck total; which makes your hand much weaker.
Seven Card Stud Games
Cash games are the most popular type of Seven Card Stud games, and will be where you can find the most action on an online poker site. But Seven Card Stud is still played in some live tournaments such as the World Series of Poker. With Seven Card Stud being played as a limit game, this puts players in position to play a bit wider of hands, especially in cash games. Obviously, you never want to get caught chasing too deep into a hand, and get to the point where you are pot committed to call with nothing.
The following is a list of some of the best starting hands for Seven Card Stud (in order):
Three of a Kind: (A-A) A, and then every three of a kind down.
Big Pairs such as AA-JJ: (A-A) K would be the best due to the strong kicker.
Big suited connectors: (As-Ks) Qs or (Kd-Qd) Jd, etc.
Medium pairs from 10/10 to 8/8 and medium suited connectors: (Jd-10d) 9d or (10c-9c) 8c, and so on.
Big suited semi-connectors: (Ah-Qh) Jh, (Ah-Kh) 10h, or (Kh-Qh) 10h
As you can tell there is a wide range of strong starting hands, leaving you some good opportunities to put yourself in good spots going into fourth street.