The 7-Card Stud Poker game, also called Down-The-River or Seven-Toed Pete, is a popular variant of Stud Poker. Poker players popularly played the seven-card stud game until Texas Hold’em took over its popularity in the casinos of the USA.
Seven-Card Stud is played between two to eight players. The major difference between this poker variant and Texas Hold’em or Omaha is that this game doesn’t involve the flop round of betting and mostly doesn’t involve the use of community cards. Interested in learning more about 7-Card Stud Poker? Continue reading to learn the rules and gameplay.
Poker Hands in Seven Card Stud
The poker hands and rankings used in the 7-card stud game vary from the usual hand rankings used in the other popular poker variants where Royal Flush is the best hand.
The highest hand on the 7-card stud poker hand rankings chart is five of a kind which can be created only when at least one card is a wild card like Joker. For instance, 10♥️ 10♦️ 10♣️ 10♠️ Joker (Joker being the wild card) or K♣️ K♠️ 9♦️ 9♥️ 9♠️ (where 9s are the wild cards).
When only a standard pack of 52 cards are used, and there are no wild cards in the game, Straight Flush is the highest possible hand. You can make a straight flush with five cards in sequence and of the same suit. For example, 9♣️ 8♣️ 7♣️ 6♣️ 5♣️.
The next on the chart is four of a kind. As evident from its name, a four of a kind hand can be made from four cards of the same rank. For example, A♦️A♠️A♥️A♣️ or 6♦️6♥️ 6♣️ 6♠️.
A full house hand is made using five cards with three cards of the same rank and two cards of a different rank. For example, 5 ♣️5 ♠️5 ♥️7♠️ 7♦️.
Flush is created with five cards of the same suit but not in a sequence. For example, 10♠️ 8♠️ 5♠️ 3♠️ 2♠️.
A straight consists of five cards in a sequence but of different suits. For example, Q♠️ J♥️ 10♦️ 9♣️ 8♣️.
Three of a kind consists of three cards of the same rank and two cards of a different rank. For example, J♠️J♣️ J♥️ 6♥️ 3♣️.
As evident, two pairs hand is created with one pair of cards of one rank, another pair of cards of another rank, and the fifth card of a different rank. For example, J♠️ J♣️ 6♦️ 6♠️ 5♥️.
The one pair hand consists of only one pair of cards of one rank and three other cards of different ranks. For example, J♥️ J♣️ 10♠️ 7♦️ 4♥️.
No pair is a common hand that contains no cards that can be paired up, are of the same suit, or in a rank sequence. When a player has a no pair, the highest card decides the rank of the hand. This hand is also called High Card.
What are the rules of 7-Card Stud Poker?
The objective for each player in the game is to win the pot that contains all the bets of the players in any one deal. The player with the strongest hand made of five cards wins the pot.
The seven-card stud poker game is played using a standard deck of 52 cards. Each player is given chips to place their bets, and each player has to give an ante (the amount of which is decided before the game) before the cards are dealt.
The players receive seven cards in total throughout the game in a combination of face-down and up cards. Three cards are dealt face-down and four cards face-up in different betting rounds.
The gameplay is divided into different betting rounds. Here are the rules to play poker variant of seven-card stud.
Before the game starts, all players pay a pre-determined nominal amount which is known as the ante. The ante amount is used to get entry into the hand, and the ante is always decided before the game starts.
The game begins after the ante is paid and the cards are dealt to each player. Before the first betting round, each player receives three cards, one by one, which is known as the third street. Two of the three cards are the hole cards and are dealt face down, and one card (the door card) is dealt face up. Then the betting proceeds.
The player with the lowest-ranked door card is called the ‘bring-in’ and is required to make the first bet. This player has two options: to make a bet equal to the bring in, which is decided before the game starts or to make a bet based on the low bet structure size.
After the first betting round of the third street, each player receives one more face-up card, called the fourth street. The player with the highest face-up card makes a bet. This player has two options to bet: to bet as per the lower betting structure size or to check (stay in the hand without betting).
After the second betting round, the remaining players are dealt one more face-up card, known as the fifth street. The player with the highest value of the face-up cards begins betting.
In the fourth round, the remaining players receive one more card, face-up, and this is called the sixth street. The player with the highest value of face-up cards places the bet.
The River is the last betting round where each active player receives another card (this time face-down) also called the seventh street. The player with the highest value of face-up cards starts the bet.
By this round, all the active players have seven cards in hand. In this round, if only one player remains and the others fold, that player wins the pot. However, if more than one player is left in the last round, those players play the showdown.
In the showdown, all the remaining players reveal their seven cards-hand, and the player with the highest five-card poker hands wins and takes the pot. If the hand ranking of more than one player is the same, the pot is divided equally between the winning players.
Additional Rules for Seven Card Stud Game
- To determine the bring-in in the game, the card ranks ties are broken by the suit of the cards. The suits ranked highest to lowest are Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs. Therefore, the lower suit card will be the bring-in in a tie between two cards of different suits. For example, between 3❤️ and 3♣️, the 3♣️ will have the bring-in.
- If the player with the lowest-ranked card in the third street goes all-in for ante but are unable to make the bring-in bet, the bring-in will move to the next player in a clockwise direction.
- If a player shows a pair on the fourth street betting round, any player can raise or open for one big bet. The bigger bet amount then continues for the remainder of the betting round.
- Since seven-card stud is played between eight players with one deck of cards, the dealer may run out of cards to deal before the seventh street. In such circumstances, only one community card is dealt face-up, which is shared by all the players.
Seven-Card Stud Poker Variants
7-Card Stud Hi/Lo
Commonly found in online poker rooms, 7-card stud hi/lo variant has the same rules, but only the pot is split at the end of the game. The pot is evenly divided between the player with the highest hand and the one with the lowest hand.
The Mississippi stud variant has only four betting rounds as it removes the fourth and fifth street rounds. The betting structure is quite similar to that of Texas hold’em, and the number of down and up cards is also the same.
Razz is a lowball variant of 7-card stud. The game objective is to get the lowest hand possible.
Down the River
Down the river is one of the most basic 7-card stud poker variants, which is frequently found in most poker rooms.
Queens and After
In this variant, all the Queen cards are wild cards and the card dealt face-up following the Queen card is also a wild card. If the other card that is dealt after a Queen card is also Queen, all cards change to the card that follows the Queen.
Roll Your Own
Roll your own variant features four rounds where two cards are dealt face-down. The players roll one card face-up, and the betting round begins.
In Low Chicago, a low spade in the hole covers half the pot. In High Chicago, a low spade transforms into a high spade.
In this variant, the 3s and 9s are the wild cards. If a player is dealt a 4 face-up, they get an extra card.
In this variant, all the Aces and deuces are wild cards.
With so many variants of the seven-card stud poker game, the game can never get boring. While the rules may vary slightly, the game is as interesting as Texas hold’em or Omaha poker. If you are a beginner, you can play poker starting with Texas Hold’em and then move on to playing the other online poker variants.