Seven-card stud poker (also known as 7-Card Stud, Down-The-River, and Seven-Toed Pete) is one of the most popular poker forms.
In fact, it was the most widely-played variation until the community card-based Texas Hold’em became the standard variant for big tournaments, such as the World Series of Poker.
Despite no longer being the most popular variant, loads of poker players still love playing 7-Card Stud. It’s a little hard to find this variant online, but some gambling sites do offer it. Read on to find out how to play this poker game.
As with every poker game, the goal is to win the pot accumulated throughout the round either by getting the highest hand or by making other players fold. Despite getting seven cards, the game makes use of standard five-card poker hands.
This variant isn’t too different from most stud games, but it can take some getting used to if you are unfamiliar with it. Here is a step-by-step guide explaining the flow of a game to help you understand how it works:
At the start of the round, each player must place an ante. Ante refers to the bet placed before getting in cards.
After every player has placed an ante, you will be dealt three cards (two face down and one face up.)
After you get your first three cards, the first betting round will take place. You can bet, check (stay with your current bet), call (match another person’s bet), raise (increase the table bet), or fold (give up.) You will have the same options in all betting rounds.
When the first betting round concludes, you will get your fourth card face up. This round is known as the fourth street.
The second betting round begins.
When the second betting round concludes, you will be driven a fifth card face up. This round is known as the fifth street.
The third betting round begins.
As the betting round concludes, you get your sixth card face-up. This round is known as the sixth street.
The fourth betting round begins.
You get your seventh and final card face down. This round is known as the river.
The final round of betting begins.
Showdown! Everybody reveals their hands, and the player with the best five-card hand wins the pot.
Visual Representation of Seven-Card Stud Rounds
Sometimes, it can be confusing to read a wall of text and take away much from it. So, here is a visual representation of 7-Card Stud rounds when you play at online casinos.
Simply put, you get three cards to start with. Then, you get one card after each betting round. Your first two cards and final card are dealt face down.
7-Card Stud Betting Rules
Now that you know how general gameplay works in 7-Card Stud, we can get into the nitty-gritty details about betting. Here are wagering rules you need to know in this variant:
Your ante needs to be 10% of the big blind.
Depending on whether the game has a pot-limit, you can increase your bet or raise in increments of the big or small blind.
In the first two betting rounds, you can only bet in increments of the small blind. For example, if a bet is $4, a raise would be an extra $4, making a total bet of $8.
In the subsequent rounds, you can only bet in increments of the big blind. For example, if a bet is $8, then a raise is $16.
The order in which players reveal their hands is also controlled. The remaining players reveal their hands during the showdown, starting with the player who bet first or raised last.
The limited betting structure puts a cap on the raises, which is a good or bad thing, depending on the type of player you are. At most casinos and card rooms, bets and raises have a maximum limit. Most sites limit players to three raises, but some rooms have a cap of four.
So, you are going to have to play high limit games if you want to bet big.
Should I Play 7-Card Stud Poker?
In terms of return-to-player percentage, you’re better off playing Texas Hold’em. Generally, stud poker games are a little more unpredictable than community card games because more hole cards are involved depending on the variant.
This means guessing the strength of a player’s hand is a little more difficult because there are more unknowns. Thus, it makes sense that the RTP percentage in a standard Texas Hold’em game is 99.47% and 96.30% in a standard stud game.
Despite this, 7-Card Stud is still a fun game to play, and if you really enjoy it, the return is still good enough to warrant playing it over other variants.