While it isn’t as popular as Texas Holdem in recent years, old school poker players will tell you this is where many of them got their start. Whether it be home poker, or at the casino, seven card stud has been around for ages, and today continues to be an extremely popular version of poker.

While there are some definite similarities between poker games like texas holdem and seven card stud with respect to betting structure, antes, and rank of hands – the play of the game and basic strategies that surround it are quite different.

Like all poker games, 50% is knowledge and 50% is luck in the way that the cards fall. We don’t guarantee you’ll be able to walk into your nearest casino and walk out a couple hours later with your pockets full of money after reading this tutorial, but it should help build a good base of knowledge of seven card stud.

If you wish to learn more on this poker game, check out the resources and books listed on the final page.

Without further ado, let’s delve into seven card stud poker.

Seven Card Stud: Overview & Rules

Once you have a basic grasp of poker and general rules seven card stud isn’t a tough game to learn…but like all versions of poker, it’s a difficult game to master. Quite often professional players will specialize, many in Texas Holdem, but those whose specialty is seven card stud are often extremely good at it.

The 60 second overview of seven card stud:

  • 2 cards are dealt face down to each player, followed by 1 card face up, round of betting ensues
  • One up card dealt to each player, more betting ensues
  • One more up card is dealt to each player, another round of betting ensues
  • A final up card is dealt to each player, more betting.
  • The last card (a down card) is dealt to each player, the last round of betting ensues.
  • Best 5 card poker hand (out of the 7 cards in front of each player) wins the pot.

In depth overview:

Like all poker games, seven card stud starts with your standard deck of 52 cards. The dealer then deals every player two cards face down and one face up. Unlike texas holdem where each player has two down cards and the rest are community cards, in seven card stud each player has their own up/down cards that they play on.

Once the two down cards and one up card are dealt the betting goes directly to the person with the highest up card unless there is a rule called a “bring in.” Whether you’re playing at home or at a casino you’ll need to be aware of the betting increments. For example a $10/$20 table means that starting bets for the first two rounds is $10 and $20 for subsequent rounds. A $10/$20/$30 table is the same except that the final round of betting starts at $30.

A bring-in is when a player must bet, called a forced bet. In other words, they can’t check, their choice is either to bet or fold. Betting continues after that in normal clockwise order.

If there is no bring-in, then the betting starts with the person showing the highest-ranked up card, this person can either check or bet. In case of a tie-break, such as a Ks and Kh showing up the suit isn’t used as a tie break. Instead betting starts with the player next (clockwise) to the dealer. For example the person to the immediate left of the player with the low up card must open betting (if the previous player folded) or fold.

Once everyone has had a chance to check, bet, or fold the dealer then deals another card face up to the players remaining. Another round of betting ensues, betting begins with the person who has the best poker hand with their two up cards.

Then the dealer gives the remaining players their third up card and another round of betting takes place starting with the person who has the best poker hand with their three up cards.

The dealer then deals the final (fourth) up card and another round of betting takes place.

After the fourth up card, the seventh and last card is dealt face down to all players remaining and the final betting round takes place. If only one player remains, that person wins, otherwise the 2+ remaining players have a showdown, the player with the best 5 card poker hand out of the 7 in front of them wins the pot.