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The Basics of Seven Card Stud

Seven-card Stud has traditionally been one of the most popular card games in poker. It is normally played with no more than seven or eight players to ensure enough cards in the deck to cover the deal. The three most popular variations of this game are: Seven-Stud High, Seven-Stud Low (Razz), and Seven-Stud High-Low Split, each of which will be discussed below.

Order of Play Common to All VariationsEach player is initially dealt two cards face down and one card face up (the doorcard). On the strength of these three cards players bet, raise, or fold (give up). After the initial round of betting a fourth card (fourth street) is dealt face up to remaining players and a round of betting ensues. Betting continues after another up-card is dealt (fifth street). This is followed by the next round of betting when the up-card (sixth street) is dealt. The final card (seventh street) is dealt face down to players, followed by a betting round and the showdown to determine the winner(s).

Seven-Stud HighOn the first round of the deal the low card by suit is required to initiate play by making an opening bet. Suits are ranked from highest to lowest: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs. On the following rounds the high hand initiates betting action. In tied hands the player to the left of the dealer bets first. In split-limit play, the lower limit is in effect for the first two betting rounds unless an open pair is shown on the board. If an open pair is shown on fourth street any bettor has the option of wagering either the lower or higher limit. If the lower limit is bet following players may raise either the upper or lower limit. On fifth, sixth, and seventh streets only the upper limit may be bet or raised. Winner is the player with the highest five-card hand in the poker rank of hands.

Seven-Stud Low (Razz)Aces are only low cards. On the first round the high card is required to initiate betting. In subsequent rounds the lowest hand on the board initiates. For tied hands the player on the dealer’s left bets first. In split limit games the lower limit is bet and raised on third or fourth street while the upper limit prevails on fifth, sixth, and seventh street. An open pair showing on third or fourth street does not affect the limit. Winner is the player with the lowest five-card hand. Straights and flushes do not impair a hand for low. Best low hand is A, 2, 3, 4, 5, regardless of suit.

Seven-Stud High-Low SplitAn eight or less qualifies a hand for low unless specifically posted otherwise. Low card opens betting with the ace considered a high card in the initial round. On following rounds the high hand initiates action. On tied hands the player to dealer’s left acts first. As in Razz the lower betting limits prevail on third and fourth street with upper limits mandatory on fifth, sixth, and seventh street. Open pairs do not affect the betting limit. At the showdown aces may be used for low, with straights and flushes of no consequence. Players may use any five cards out of seven to make their best high or low hands. High hand is determined by the poker rank of hands.

Poker Rank of Hands High to Low
Straight Flush - Five consecutive cards of the same suit
Four of a Kind
Full House - Three of a kind plus a pair
Flush - five cards of the same suit
straight - five consecutive cards of different suits
three of a kind
two pair
high card
(aces played high or low)

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