Seven Card Stud is a stud poker variant where each player is dealt seven cards. This is not a poker game with community cards, nor is it a draw poker game (i.e. a poker game where you are allowed to discard cards and have them replaced). Before Texas Hold’em became a dominating force in the poker world, Seven Card Stud was the most commonly played poker game in most poker rooms in Las Vegas.
How to play Seven Card Stud
Seven Card Stud poker is played with a traditional 52 card deck. No jokers or other wild cards are used.
- The dealer deals each player three cards. Two of your cards will be placed face down and one card face up. You are allowed to look at your face down cards, but you are not supposed to show them to anyone else.
- The player with the lowest open card starts the betting round.
- After the betting round, the dealer will deal each player (that hasn’t folded) a face up card. This card is known as 4th street, since it is the fourth card you receive.
- The player with the highest open card starts the betting round after 4th street.
- When the betting round is over, the dealer will give each remaining player a face up card. This is known as 5th street.
- The player with the highest open card starts the betting round after 5th street.
- After the betting round, the dealer will give each remaining player a face up card. This is known as 6th street.
- The player with the highest open card starts the betting round after 6th street.
- After the betting round, the dealer will give each remaining player a face down card. This is known as 7th street. You are allowed to look at your 7th street card, but should not show it to any other player.
- Each player that is still in the game now has a total of seven cards. Of these cards, four cards are face up for everyone to see, while three cards are “secret cards”. A final betting round will take place, starting with the person who has the highest open card.
- If there are at least two players remaining after the final betting round, each remaining player show their private cards. This is called showdown. The player with the best five-card poker hand wins the pot.
What to do if there isn’t enough cards
As mentioned above, seven card stud poker is played with a standard 52 card deck. A typical seven card stud table will have room for eight players. If each of them stays in the pot all the way to 7th street, that is a total of 56 cards. Also, for security reasons to prevent cheating, the dealer will “burn” (discard) four cards during a game of seven card stud, bringing the total up to 60 cards.
In most rounds of seven card poker, this never becomes a problem because at least a few players tend to bow out and fold their hand well before showdown. If you find your self at a table where this doesn’t happen, there are rules to follow to handle the card shortage.
- When the dealer notices that there is a risk of a card shortage, she will take the cards that she has burnt (discarded) and mix them into her deck again. She will not mix in any cards discarded by players.
- If this is not enough to bolster the deck, the dealer will not give each player their own 7th street card. Instead, she will place one card face up on the table and this will be a communal card that may be used by every player.