Play 7 Card Stud Online at Full Tilt Poker
7 Card Stud was the most popular form of poker in eastern United States, prior to the televised poker boom which began in 2003, and quickly helped Texas holdem take over as the game of choice. While today it is difficult to get a live Stud ring game going outside of Atlantic City NJ or southeastern Connecticut, there are still a good selection of stud games online at Full Tilt Poker. Also, you’ll find Stud, both live and online, available as part of the rotation in mixed games such as H.O.R.S.E and H.O.S.E, where the “S” stands for 7 Card Stud. If you’re going to be good at mixed games, 7 Card Stud is one of the games you’ll need to master.
On this page, we’ll cover how 7 Card Stud is played, as well as give some 7 Card Stud tips and strategy. If you’re already familiar with how to play the game and have a good idea of strategy, you can get started playing online at Full Tilt Poker, or you can scroll to the bottom of this page to reference our recommended books on 7 Card Stud strategy.
How to Play 7 Card Stud
7 Card Stud is near exclusively played with fixed limit stakes, and is a game that uses antes rather than blinds. To start the game, all players put a small (relative to stakes) ante wager into the pot. The amount of ante is different between houses, in a $3/$6 game the ante will generally be $0.25 or $0.50. Once the ante is posted, each player is dealt three cards, one at a time in a clockwise direction starting from the left of the dealer. The first two of these cards is dealt faced down, private to each player, and the third is dealt faced up for all players to see. The player dealt the lowest card has a forced bet called a bring-in which starts the action. This bet is generally 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the game’s small bet (example in a $5/$10 game the bring in will generally be $2). Betting then proceeds around the table in a clockwise direction with each player having an option to call, fold or raise. In stud, the game is generally capped at four bets per round. One thing to note is that the bring in is not actually considered a bet for counting person, if one player brings in and the next player wishes to raise, this is referred to as a completion. Three additional bets (raises) on top of that will be allowed. Also, in some Stud games, the betting is capped at four rounds.
Four additional cards will be dealt to players one at a time with a betting round after each. The next three of these cards will be face up for everyone to see, and the final will be face down. So, in summary, at showdown a player will have received two hole cards, four face up cards, and then a final and third hole card. In each betting round after the first, it is the player with the highest ranking exposed hand that starts the betting action. This player has the choice to either check (pass on betting) or bet. If the bet is checked, the next player is given the same option; when someone bets, the options become call, fold or raise, as once there is a bet checking is obviously no longer allowed.
In limit 7-card stud games, the bet is always doubled on fifth street, with one exception which we’ll cover in a moment. This means in a $10/$20 stud game, the first two betting rounds use $10 increments, and the final three use $20 increments. The exception comes on the second betting round: any player with an exposed pair has the option to “double bet” if they are the first player making a bet that round.
Once all betting rounds are complete, a showdown takes place, and the player who uses any five of their seven cards to make the best five card poker hand wins the pot.
If you’re ready to give 7 Card Stud a try, head on over to the number one online poker site for 7-Card Stud, Full Tilt Poker. If you want more tips, continue reading this page where we’ll cover 7 Card Stud strategy.
7 Card Stud Strategy
In this 7 Card Stud strategy guide, we’ll focus on the most basic information, starting hands and then conclude the article with some 7 Card Stud tips. We strongly encourage you to scout games first, finding ones that are soft, start off at lower limits and also read other 7 Card Stud advice prior to playing any games of financial significance. As far as other 7 Card Stud advice, once you understand the basics, we consider the book 7 Card Stud for Advanced players by David Sklansky a near must read. With that said, lets get into 7 Card Stud Starting hands.
7 Card Stud Playable-hands from all positions
Three of a kind: Three of a kind (a.k.a trips and set) is the best starting hand in 7 Card Stud. A lot of people would recommend slow playing a premium hand like this, but it really depends on your image and the level of competition. One thing to consider is that if your up card is higher than the remaining opponents in the hand, they are expecting you to raise. If you flat call, they’ll likely end up on guard, and this might actually decrease your chance at profit. When you have mid to small sized trips, it often is better to slow play the hand and then get additional bets in on fifth street where the odds increase.
Odds: In 7 Card Stud, the odds of being dealt trips as a starting hand are 424 to 1
High Pairs: When not dealt trips, the next hand you’re hoping for is a high pair. These pairs are of much greater value when fully concealed and a player is showing an upcard higher than yours, which your pair still beats. Generally speaking, even when a high pair is concealed, slow playing does not make sense. Pairs are a vulnerable hand, especially with the straight and flush possibilities that come in seven cards, so we do recommend playing these aggressively to reduce the number of opponents per hand.
One thing we strongly suggest is: if by sixth street your hand is only one high pair, do not continue to bet. We see many many players make this mistake, and generally by now you’ll know if your being called or not. Do not waste bets by senselessly betting away what was once a good hand that failed to improve.
Odds: In Stud, the odds of making two pair or better by seventh street, when starting with a pair, are 1.4 to 1.
Three to a Flush: In 7 Card Stud, the third best starting hand is three to a flush. The strength of this hand is relative to how many cards are visible (in other opponents’ hands) that match this suit, and how high your cards rank in terms of potential pair draw value. When you have this hold, your raise strategy will depend on other bets in front of you, as well as on how big your upcard is. If you have a king, raising would be a good idea, because if you fail to catch a flush you might be able to later represent a pair of kings or trip kings. If your cards are low value, you might want to play a little slow and wait to improve.
The one thing well warn you of is that if you don’t catch a four flush (or any great improvement) by fifth street, give the hand up immediately.
Three to a straight: In stud your next best starting hand is three open cards to a straight. By open we mean consecutive with multiple ways to make the straight on both ends. For example, AKQ and A23 are not in this category as there is only one way to make the straight, while 9TJ does fit the description. With straight cards, you can open for a raise where it makes sense (everyone is showing a low up card), but most times are playing this only to see fourth. If you haven’t caught a straight draw by fourth street, be prepaired to let this hand go, unless of course you already showed strength, your opponent has appeared to brick as well.
Other Playable 7 Card Stud Hands
When playing against tight opponents who have been easy to bluff, it might make sense to steal antes with hands such as three high cards and small pairs. These situations are covered in our recommended book on 7 Card stud, 7 Card Stud for Advanced players by David Sklansky.
To play 7 Card Stud Online, visit Full Tilt Poker.