Up until the recent rise in popularity of Texas Hold’em (thanks to the publicity of the World Series of Poker), seven-card stud was the most popular form of poker played at home games. It is still a prominent form of poker played at the World Series and features as the “S” in the mixed game “H.O.R.S.E.”. Unlike Omaha, seven-card stud is very different to Texas Hold’em and has its own rules, terminology and betting.
How to play
The first major difference from Texas Hold’em poker is that there are no blinds in seven-card stud. Instead there are antes, which are forced bets every player has to make before each hand. To start, every player is dealt two cards face down and one card face up. The player with the lowest ranked up-facing card pays a bring-in, which is either half the minimum bet or the minimum bet (seven-card stud is traditionally a limit game therefore there is a minimum and maximum bet. Usually the maximum bet is twice the minimum). Every player is then dealt a fourth card face up (fourth street) followed by a round of betting. From this round onwards, the player with the highest up-facing cards is first to act (check, bet or fold). A fifth card (fifth street) is then dealt face up to every player followed by a round of betting. After this round of betting, a sixth up-facing card (sixth street) is dealt to every player, followed by another round of betting. Finally, a seventh card (seventh street) is dealt face down to every player still remaining in the pot, followed by a final round of betting. Once the final round of betting is completed, all remaining players show their cards in the showdown and the dealer awards the pot to the player with the best 5 card hand, according to the ranking of poker hands.
Seven-card stud Hi-Lo
Much like Omaha, there is a hi-lo version of seven-card stud poker. The rules of play follow that of traditional seven-card stud except the final pot is split between the player with the best high hand and the player with the best qualifying low hand. As with Omaha, seven-card stud hi-lo is played eights-or-better with the low hand qualifying at less than 8-7-6-5-4.