A Guide to Playing 7 Card Stud Poker

Playing 7 Card Stud Poker isn't that complicated, but knowing how to play well will help you bet properly and create strategies so that you can walk away from the table a winner. The first thing that you have to know are the rules. Seven-card stud poker is a classic poker game with a couple of variations: High-Low for example. However, in this article we'll discuss how to play the standard version of the game where the high hand wins.

The Basics: How The Game Works

You might have already figured out from the name of the game that seven cards are dealt to each player. However, you don't get to use all seven cards in a hand. Instead, you make a traditional poker hand of five cards using the seven cards that you are dealt. So, for example, you can make a full house, a straight, a straight flush or any of the lower poker hands. However, you couldn't have three of a kind twice because you only get to use five cards.

Step One: The Ante

The first thing that happens is everyone puts the agreed upon amount in the ante. The ante is there for one simple reason ? so that everyone has to make an investment before they get their hand. That's so that people can't just fold until they get a good hand without losing money. Once everyone has "anted (pronounced AN-teed) up" the dealer will start dealing cards. He deals starting to his or her left, giving each player two cards that are face down. These are called "hole" cards. The dealer will also deal everyone a card that is face up.

Step Two: Deciding What You Have So Far

Now, everyone looks at their two hole cards. That, plus the card that is upturned will make up your initial hand. The player that has the lowest card showing (face-up) has to place a bet called a "bring-in" and then players bet on what they have so far. Each player has the ability to call (place the bet that is on the table) raise the bet, or fold (quit the hand). There are more rules to betting, but these are the basics.

Step Three: The Turn & The River

The betting will continue until everyone has bet what they desire and then the dealer will continue the same direction and deal another card to each player. This is the turn and it is also face-up. In fact, all of the cards that are dealt after the two "hole" cards are dealt face-up. After another round of betting it is time for what is called the "river", or the fifth card dealt. Another round of betting occurs and the sixth card is dealt.

Step Four: The Final Card

Betting again happens after the sixth card and finally, the seventh card is dealt. Now players have five cards face up and two hole cards. Betting will continue until someone calls, and the object is to decide if you have a better hand than what you can estimate the other players have by the cards that are showing. The player who can make the best five-card hand wins the pot, and that is seven-card stud poker.