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Card Stud Tips
7-Card Stud is one of the oldest poker games
around, and continues to be the game of choice
for home tables around the world.
The game itself is fairly easy to learn;
each player is dealt two face down "Hole
Cards", and a face-up "Door Card."
The dealer then deals to each player in turn
4 more face up cards. The player with the
highest 5-card hand takes the pot.
There are a few key concepts you should know
about for seven-card stud. The first we'll
talk about is the antes...
Antes: At the beginning of every hand, each
player must contribute a small bet called
the ante. Antes are used as an incentive for
players to play the hand, and build the pot.
The Stakes: In the main
lobby table list you may have noticed a "stakes"
column. For each seven-card stud game, the
stakes dictate the bet and raise amount for
each round of betting. The lower number is
used for the first two rounds, and the higher
number for the last three.
Let's use a $5/$10 stakes example. In the
first two rounds of betting, both the bet
and the raise must be $5, no more, no less.
The last three rounds have a bet/raise amount
The Cap: In 7-Card Stud,
each round of betting can consist of one bet
and has a maximum of three of allowable raises,
known as the cap. So, if a bet is made, that
bet can only be raised three times, after
which all players must call, or fold. However,
if only two players remain in the hand the
cap is increased, to a maximum of five raises.
So you want to play some 7-Card Stud. You've
chosen your stakes and taken a seat at the
table. What now?
Ante Up! All players must
ante. If you wanna play, you gotta pay.
The Pocket and the Door: Dealer deals each
player in turn two face down cards (the pocket),
then a face-up card (the door.) After this,
the first betting round, beginning with the
The Bring-In: The player with the lowest
showing door card must post "the bring-in,"
a mandatory initial bet of usually half the
smaller stake amount. The bring-in player
has the option to increase this bet to the
full small stake.
If two players are showing the same door
card, we'll use the suit rankings to decide
which card is weakest. The ranks of the suits
are (strongest to weakest): Spades, Hearts,
Diamonds, and Clubs.
The bring-in's purpose is much like the ante's;
to encourage players to stay in a hand, and
build the pot.
To stay in the game, all players must call,
raise or fold to the bring-in bet. Betting
begins to the bring-in player's left, and
continues clockwise. If the bring-in opens
with half the low stake, the first raise will
"complete" the bring-in, raising
it to the lower stake limit. Any raises after
that must be the lower stake amount.
So, at our $5/$10 table, if a player brings-in
with $2, and you want to raise him, you must
raise $3, completing the bring-in. Now, any
player that raises after you must raise $5.
Still with us? Great! On to Third Street.
Third Street: After the
Bring-In bets have all been called, each player
is dealt another face up card, called "Third
Street." Now, the highest showing hand
opens the betting round. If a pair is showing
for any hand on Third Street, that player
has the option of doubling his(her) bet amount,
and "raising the stake" for this
betting round. Otherwise, Third Street bets
and raises are limited to the small stake.
So, let's say we're in our $5/$10 game, and
your facing cards show a pair. You now have
the option of doubling the bet to $10, and
if you do, any subsequent raises have to be
the upper stake limit of $10. If you choose
not to double up, the bet/raise amount stays
at $5 for this round.
Fourth Street: Another face
up card is dealt to each player, and high
hand opens the betting round. For these last
three rounds, the bet amount is now the higher
stake ($10 in our $5/$10 game).
Fifth Street: The fourth
face up card is dealt to each player, and
high hand opens the betting round. For these
last three rounds, the bet amount is now the
higher stake ($10 in our $5/$10 game).
The River: The final card
is dealt to each player face down, making
a total of 7 cards in each hand. Now the final
betting round begins, and as before, the highest
showing hand starts the betting. The River
bets are still limited to the upper stake.
($10 in our $5/$10 game.)
A special circumstance: At
this point, you may be doing some math in
your head, and thinking 7 cards * 8 potential
players equals 56 cards...more cards than
we have in the deck! To solve this issue,
if all 8 players are still in the game by
the river, the dealer will flip a single community
card in the middle of the table, which can
be used by all 8 players to fill their hand.
The Showdown: OK, now all
the bets have been called, and it's time to
pay the winner. The last player to bet or
raise during the final betting round (the
river) will show their hand first. If all
the players checked through (nobody bet) on
the river, the player to the left of the dealer
will show first. The remaining players' hands
will be automatically revealed moving clockwise,
unless a hand is weaker than the winning hand
shown. In this case, you'll have the option
to show, or muck (fold without showing). The
best five-card hand takes the pot. For a complete
list of hand rankings, please consult the
Hand Rankings page.
Buying the pot: If during
a betting round you make a bet and all players
fold to you, you've bought the pot. You have
the option to show or muck your cards.
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