7 Card Stud Poker

Beginners guide to the game of Seven Card Stud Poker as played on Prima Poker software.

Number of Poker Players: 2 to 8

Seven Card Stud Poker is the most popular of the stud games, both for the high stakes nature of the game and the impact that careful thought can have on your odds. Seven Card Stud Poker has five rounds of betting, with the maximum bet doubling on either the second or third round of betting. Because so many of the cards are exposed on the table, you can make good choices about how likely it is that a winning hand is going to appear for you.

Starting a Game

To begin playing Seven Card Stud Poker, you place an ante on the table. This is usually a fraction of a bet, set by the poker room, and varies according to the stakes of the game.

Players are then dealt three cards, two face down and one face up.

The poker player with the lowest card showing (ace is high) is then required to make the bring-in bet which is equal to half the lower-limit bet. If two online poker players have the lowest card it is determined by suit: clubs (lowest), diamonds, hearts and spades - alphabetically. A round of betting begins, with the options for the other players being fold (quit the hand), call (put in an equal amount to what has been placed in the pot) or raise to a full bet.

Example: In a 20/40 game, the ante is usually 3 and the bring-in bet is 10. The full bet at third street is 20.

Fourth Street

For this betting round, each active player is dealt another card face up, exposed to the table.

The player with the highest card values (counting all exposed cards, such as high card, pair, etc.) then begins the next betting round by checking or betting. If two hands are of equal value the betting is started by the player closest to the dealer's left.

The lower level bet applies to Fourth Street but, if the highest hand showing is a pair, any player has an option to bet either the lower or the higher betting limit (R20 or R40 in our example), and the other players must follow that amount in calling or raising.

Fifth and Sixth Street

The mechanics are the same as for fourth street, but the betting amounts are at the higher limit (40 in the example above). The first player is determined by the highest ranking exposed hand on the table.

Seventh Street

This is the last card, and is called seventh street or the river. It is dealt face down, and the person who played first on sixth street plays first again.

A final round of betting ensues, ending in the showdown.

Players have four exposed and three hidden cards by this point. They then create the best five-card hand from their total of seven cards.

Note: Occasionally (rarely), there will not be enough cards left in the deck to deal everyone an individual seventh card. In this event, the dealer will turn up one card on the poker table that is common to all remaining active players.


  • A starting pair over 10 is usually worth betting on, unless an opponent seems to be betting aggressively and may have a higher pair
  • Fifth street is a make-or-break point. With the bet doubling, it can get expensive if you are still trying to "make" a hand at this point. Be sure that the cards you need are still "live", that is, have not been exposed in other players' hands
  • It's best to fold if an opponent's exposed cards beat your entire hand
  • If you are trying to complete a hand like a straight or a flush, check to see if other players have already exposed the cards you need, and adjust your strategy