Seven Card Stud – Rules and How to Play

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Updated on: March 6th, 2023

Seven Card Stud PokerCan you believe that seven-card stud poker was once more popular than Texas Hold’em in the USA? The game has kind of paled into the shadows of more popular poker games. However, seven card stud online is making a comeback and we have created this guide to run you through the rules, how to play and strategy.

In seven card stud poker which is also known as “Down the River” or “Seven Toed Pete” each player ends the game with a hand of 7 cards in total. This game uses one deck and can be played between two to eight players. It is only possible to play with eight players if other players fold along the way. The significance of this will become clearer when we explain the rules and how the game works.

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Seven Card Stud Rules

Just like any other poker game seven card stud starts out with an ante. One of the standout rules that makes seven card stud poker unique from other poker games is the fact that players are dealt three initial cards.

7 Card Stud Poker

In Texas Hold’em poker the initial compulsory bets are decided according to where each player sits in relation to the dealer. When it comes to Down the River, the lowest ranking hand opens betting with what is called a bring in.

In the event that they are two low-ranking hands the tie will be broken by suit rank. Suit rank is arranged alphabetically, therefore Spades are the highest followed by Hearts, Diamonds then Clubs.

Therefore, where a low-ranking hand is tied the hand of clubs will make the opening bring in bet.

Seven card stud works on a limit betting structure. What does that mean exactly? It means that bets are made with two fixed increments. The first two rounds will have the smaller of the two betting amounts and the next three rounds will have the increased betting amount. The bring in in is less than both the fixed limit betting amounts.

Players can only raise their bets by the specified betting limits. For instance, if the betting limit structure is $5 and $10 then in the first two rounds you can only raise in $5 increments. After the first two rounds players can only raise in $10 increments.

How to Play 7 Card Stud

Each player places an ante which is a compulsory amount to participate in the game. The game plays out in five rounds all with different names. The first round is third street followed by fourth, fifth, sixth street and finally the River.

Third Street

Each player gets three cards, two-hole cards and one exposed. The player with the lowest ranking card makes the initial bring in bet. The game then continues clockwise around the table with the next bet being equal to the bring in or equal to the lower limit bet. Remember that seven card stud games have a limit betting structure where the first two rounds have a low fixed betting amount and the next three rounds have a higher fixed betting amount.

Some players may fold during the first round.

Fourth Street

The next card is handed out and this is known as the fourth street. In this round the player that has the highest poker hand of the two exposed cards makes the first move. This player has the option to check or to place the lower limit bet. A round of betting follows for all the players where some may continue playing or fold. Fourth street is the last round where the lower limit bet may be used.

Fifth Street

In this round an additional exposed card is handed out to each player this is known as the fifth street. From this round the higher limit of the set limit betting structure starts being used.

At this point each player still in the game has three exposed cards in total. The player with the best hand from the exposed cards makes the first move which is a bet equal to the higher bet limit. All bets that follow can only be raised in increments of the higher bet limit

Sixth Street

An additional card known as sixth street is handed out in this round. At this point each player has four exposed cards. Again, the player with the highest value hand of the exposed cards makes the first play. A round of betting follows after that.

The River

The final additional card known as the river is handed out to each player. Now this final card is not exposed like the others. The first bet in this round is the player with the highest value hand of the exposed cards. Which means the player who made the first play in the sixth street round makes the first play in the river round. A round of betting follows and some players may fold in this round.

The Showdown

If there are still two or more players after the River, the final round to decide the winner is the showdown. This is where the remaining players expose all cards and the player with best five card hand wins the round. The player who has to reveal their cards first is the player who made the last raise or bet in the River. If there were no bets or raises the player in the earliest seat shows their hand first. Afterwards the reveal follows a clockwise order around the table.

The player with the best 5-card poker hand wins. In the event that two or more players have equal rank hands then the pot is split equally amongst those players.

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