There are as many different versions of poker as there are types of people who enjoy playing it. But no matter which variation you play, poker is a game of strategy. The cards you start with aren’t the most important factor in determining whether you win or lose. Whether you can predict what your opponents are likely to do, how they react to what you do, and how well you read those reactions all have a lot to do with how successful you are at any given point in the game. Whether or not you’re an experienced poker player doesn’t really matter when it comes to learning the basics of another popular variation called Seven Card Stud. This card-playing favorite has been around for decades and continues to attract new players because it’s so simple to learn and play. Once you know the rules, it takes only about 5 minutes to complete a game from start to finish (but don’t worry; once you get used to playing this one, that time will shrink even further).
Seven Card Stud Rules
There are a couple of preconditions that must be satisfied before players can start a game of Seven Card Stud. First, a poker hand starts with the initial round of dealing cards, going clockwise from the first player to the dealer. Three cards are dealt to each player, the first two of which are dealt face down and the third of which is dealt face up. The third street is the name of this round.
After the opening round of betting, all players who are still in the hand are dealt another card (the fourth street). The next two cards are dealt using the same procedure (fifth and sixth streets). One card is dealt face-up, and then there is a round of betting.
After the sixth street, if there are still players in the hand, they are dealt one more face-down card. The total number of cards you can have at the end of a Seven Card Stud hand is seven (hence the name), with three of them being face down so that only you can see them and the other four being face up.
Seven Card Stud Poker Hand Rankings
The poker hand rankings for Seven Card Stud are the same as most of the other types of poker like Hold’em, Omaha, or any other high game because it uses the standard poker hand rankings for high games. The high card is the worst possible holding, and the royal flush is the best poker hand.
Here’s the list of the poker hand rankings, from the highest hand in poker to the lowest:
- Royal Flush — A straight from a ten to an ace with all five cards of the same suit.
- Straight Flush — Any straight with all five cards of the same suit.
- Four of a Kind — Any four cards of the same rank
- Full House — Any three cards of the same rank together with any two cards of the same rank.
- Flush — Any five cards of the same suit.
- Straight — Any five consecutive cards of different suits.
- Three of a Kind — Any three cards of the same rank.
- Two Pair — Any two cards of the same rank together with another two cards of the same rank.
- One Pair — All two cards with the same value are equal to one pair.
- High Card — Any hand not in the above-mentioned hands
Strategy for Seven Card Stud Games
There are so many different variations of Seven Card Stud that it is really impossible to advise you on what strategy you should use in any particular game. In some variations, there are a lot of jokers in the deck, and you might want to play as if those cards are as valuable as any other card in the game. Or, in some variations, the jokers might be “dead” cards (meaning they don’t have any value). In other games, the jokers might be wild cards, meaning that they can stand in for any other card in the game. And whatever your preferred strategy is, it’s important to remember that a lot of it is psychological. The best players don’t just look for a good hand; they also try to read their opponents, predict what they are likely to do, and use those reactions against them.
Final Words: Should You Play 7 Card Stud?
If you’re just starting to play poker, Seven Card Stud could be the best place to start. It’s a game that is easy enough for beginners to play, and it’s one of the most popular poker games played in casinos all around the world. It’s a game that is easy to learn, and it’s fun to play even if you don’t make a lot of money each time you sit down to play.