7 Card stud is a variation on poker in which players are dealt a total of seven cards from which they must make a standard five-card poker hand. The cards are dealt out progressively the first three with two face down and one up, the next three face up, and the last card face down. A 52-deck is used, with no jokers and hand ranks are the standard for poker.
Games are played usually with two to seven players at the table although sometimes eight play. The order of play is as follows:
Firstly, all players lay down an ante for the pot. Each player is then dealt two cards face down and one card face up. This is known as ‘3rd street’ and the face up card is called the ‘doorcard’.
There then follows a round of betting beginning with the player showing the lowest ranking face up card. This player must put down a blind bet, known as a ‘bring in’ that is usually half the minimum bet for the table. To call the next player after the bring in must bring the bet to the table’s lower limit and then betting continues around the table as usual with each player either calling, raising, of folding the previous bets. Only three rounds of betting are allowed at this stage unless there are only two players staying in the hand in which case betting can continue unlimited.
The dealer then deals another face up card to each player, known as ‘4th street’ and there follows another round of betting this time beginning with the player showing the highest ranking cards. Because there are only two cards face up straights, flushes and full houses are not considered when ranking the hands to determine who opens the betting.
There then follows another two rounds known as ‘5th street’ and ‘6th street’ that proceed exactly the same as 4th street except that the minimum bet doubles. In each round the player showing the highest ranking cards opens the round and then betting continues clockwise around the table.
Finally a fourth card, the ‘7th street’ is dealt face down and followed by another round of betting, again starting with the player showing the lowest ranking cards. If there are eight players at the table and they all stay to receive their full hand of cards then there will be 8*7 = 56 cards dealt! This is more than the 52 cards in the pack and for this reason many casinos limit the number players to only seven. If eight players are taking part and the dealer runs out of cards then for the final round a single card is dealt face-up as a community card for all players to use to make their hands.
In brick and mortar casinos an additional burn card is discarded before each round. This is an act of etiquette to prevent the possibility of players reading the back of marked cards.
Following 7th street comes the showdown and the highest ranking five card hand wins the pot.