How to Play 7 Card Stud Poker with Pro Poker Online

Stud Poker used to reign supreme as the world’s favourite variation of the game before Texas holdem slipped into the number one slot. Just because it isn’t King anymore, doesn’t mean that it isn’t beloved. In fact, players will be able to play this game in casinos around the world, not to mention watch it being played by some of the best professionals around the globe at the World Series of Poker, otherwise known as WSOP Poker.

In this version of the game, players are dealt seven cards, with three of them facing downwards and four of them upwards. The players will then need to come up with the best possible five-card hand from these options.

The Purest Form of Poker

Many players actually believe that Stud Poker is a purer form of the game, perhaps because it was one of the first variations to appear back when the game first started to take the form in which it is known today. This is also the more complicated version of the game, but since it is so respected, it is definitely worth learning. In order to start playing, it is usually best that players get comfortable with the many rules of the game, not to mention the slight differences between different variations of the game, which include Caribbean Stud Poker and 5 Stud Poker.

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How to Play Stud Poker

This game is played with between two and eight players. The entire game can be divided into four stages: setup, the Bring, Betting Rounds and Showdown. Each game requires that players make certain decisions about how they want to proceed, and each action will have an impact on how much the player walks away with once the game comes to an end.

The Setup

The Setup begins with the players “buying in”, which basically means that they purchase a certain number of chips. It is during this time that the “big bet” and “small bet” will be specified, with the ante constituting about 10% of the “big bet”.

The betting rules are also established at this stage (they are usually clearly outlined at any casino, whether this is an online poker game or in a brick-and-mortar establishment) and it should be known that the game can be played with different types of betting structures. In certain casinos, the House Rules will dictate these variations, while in others, it will be the specific type of Stud Poker being played that will require players to become familiar with a new set of rules.

The “ante” is usually done at the start of the game. This is known as “dead money”, which means that the cash goes into a pot, with the resulting bets being added to that same pot. The bets will then be placed by players, starting with the Bring.

Two cards are placed on the table, facing downwards, with one card then being placed facing upwards. The former are known as “hole cards”, while the latter are called “door” or “window” cards. The following rounds will depend greatly on the value of these first two cards, so they are more important than most players might realise when it comes to poker strategy.

The Bring

It is the player who has the lowest value door card that is required to “bring it in”. In order to figure out who needs to be the one to “bring it in”, the cards are evaluated, with the Ace holding the highest value, followed by the King, Queen and then the Jack. The numbered cards have face value. In the event that two players hold the lowest possible card, the loser is then determined by the suit, which holds the following values from highest to lowest; spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. The values are actually ordered by the alphabetical order of the words themselves, which make them easier to remember.

The losing player will then have two options; they will either match the ante or increase it to the amount of the small bet, depending on how strong they feel their hand is turning out to be.

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The Five Betting Rounds

Round One

The first betting round is also known as Third Street and it begins with the player to the left of the bring. The player has three options to pick from;

  • Folding: to throw their hand.
  • Calling: to match the bring.
  • Raising: in the event the bring bet the minimum amount, the next player can raise that to the small bet limit. If the bring raises the bet to the small bet amount, the next player can double that.

The action the player takes will depend on their cards, their beliefs about the cards held by the other players and the likelihood that the player will have a winning hand by the end of the last round. This is all part of Poker strategy.

Round Two

Also known as fourth street, during the second round, once the betting has come to a stop, the dealer will then deal the players another card, facing upwards. The dealer usually starts to his left and then moves around the table in a clockwise fashion.

The player that acts next is the one that highest value card shown. This will continue to be the case for every round proceeding this one. It should be noted that the card rankings are the same as the poker hands.

The best hand during the fourth street consists of 2 A’s, with the worst hand consisting of a 2 and 3. Pairs are always better than non-pairs. In the event that players have the same value cards, the winner is decided by the suit – the ranking of which was described earlier, based on the alphabetical order of the suit.


  • Player 1: 10? 9?
  • Player 2: 10? 9?

In this instance, the first player has the highest hand because the 10 of spaces has a higher ranking than the 10 of hearts.

The player with the highest hand will then have the chance to act first, and they can do so by “checking” or betting the small betting limit. The action will then move in a clockwise direction around the table with each player taking it in turn to choose how they would like to proceed.

All other players will then have to make a decision about what action they want to take. They have the option of:

  • Checking: placing no bet if no bet has been made.
  • Calling: matching the bet that has been made.
  • Betting or Raising: placing a bet (the small limit) if no bet has been made or increasing the bet, equal to the small limit.
  • Folding: throwing their hand.

Round Three

Known as the Fifth Street, the third betting round begins with another card being dealt, facing upwards, to each of the players. The game then proceeds in the same way that the second round proceeded, with the best show card allowing that player to start betting. In this instance, three of a kind is the highest ranking combination, followed by a pair and then the highest ranking cards.

When placing bets during this round, players will use the big betting limit.

Round Four

Also called the Sixth Street, this round follows the same pattern as the third round. The highest ranking hand is four of a kind and bets use the big betting limit.

The Final Round

Called Seventh Street, the last round starts when the dealer deals a card facing downwards to each player, starting with the player to their left.

The highest ranking card from the previous round allows the player to bet first once again. All bets placed make use of the big betting limit.

The Showdown

After the final round, the players will start the round called “the Showdown”. It is during this round that the players will need to put together the best possible hand out of the seven cards available to them.

During this final round, suits are not used in order to evaluate the ranking of the hand. In those cases where players have the same hand, the pot is split between the players.

While the game of Stud Poker might be a little more complex than games like Texas Holdem, this certainly doesn’t mean that the game is not a worthwhile pastime. This variation has long been a favourite among professional and lay Poker players and it will continue to draw in players the world over, whether they are placing their bets in an online poker room or a local casino.


  • Dead Money: this refers to the forced bet placed at the beginning of the game, which is placed directly into the pot.
  • Door Card: the second card placed facing upwards at the start of the game.
  • Fourth Street: the fourth card that is dealt, facing upwards, to players during a hand.
  • Fifth Street: the fifth card that is dealt, facing upwards, to players during a hand.
  • Pocket Pair: two hole cards with the same value.
  • Push: when there is a tie between the player and dealer.
  • Seventh Street: the seventh card that is dealt, facing upwards, to players during a hand.
  • Sixth Street: the sixth card that is dealt, facing upwards, to players during a hand.
  • Suited: two hole cards with the same suit.
  • The Bring: the player with the lowest valued door card will be required to “bring it in”.
  • Up Card: the card facing upwards in a hand.

logoPlay Now!Got the hang of it yet? Try our FREE Online Poker App for Windows, Android and iPhone. You get an unlimited supply of poker chips, there’s no signup fee & it’s perfect if you want to get in some practice.

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