how to play 7 card stud poker

How To play 7 Card Stud Poker

A generation ago, the game of poker was, to most people, something mysterious, perhaps even a little dangerous. Everyone had a vague idea of the basics – a full house beating a pair and a royal flush beating them all, and so on. However, the intricacies of who bets, when cards are dealt and the like were largely a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

All that has changed over the past decade, and we mostly have the internet to thank for it. Real money online poker sites like the ones listed at have made poker accessible to all. However, despite there now being around 60 million online poker players in the US alone, most play either house games like video poker or 3 card poker, or if they graduate to “real” poker against other players, the automatic choice is Texas Holdem.

Returning to traditional poker

Stream some old movies featuring poker, however, and with the exception of a certain James Bond title from 2006, you will see they weren’t playing Texas Holdem. 5-card draw was the game of choice in the mid-20th century, then in later years, 7 card stud held sway until Texas Holdem exploded in popularity in the late 1980s.

7-card stud is today looked back on by the old timers as “real poker.” Everyone is allowed a favorite and there is no “right or wrong” poker variation, so that’s not a debate we will get into. What we can say is that 7-card stud is a fantastic game and every poker enthusiast should at least give it a try.  Here’s how:

7-card stud: the basics

The initial deal

Each player is initially dealt three cards, two face down and one face up. The player with the lowest value upcard starts proceedings.


There is a first round of betting, which follows usual poker rules. Players can fold at any time.

Further dealing

Another card is dealt, then another round of betting and so on until each player still in the game has seven cards. The fourth, fifth and sixth cards are dealt face up, but the final seventh card is face down.

The showdown

When all seven cards have been dealt, the players who are still in reveal their hole cards and present the best five card poker hand that they can. Hand ranks follow standard poker rules unless there are wild cards in play, in which case five of a kind is the best possible hand and outranks a royal flush.

7 card stud strategy

The above rules summary is enough to get you started playing. However, there are plenty of nuances to the game that can only be learned through experience. Like any poker game, the best way to become really conversant with the rules is by practice, and there are some excellent – and free – just for fun 7 card stud training apps that provide the ideal training environment. Take your time there and make sure you are confident with all aspects of the game before you try playing for real money.

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