Card Stud Poker is from the stud poker family, as you could probably tell from
its name. These games usually begin with an ante, rather than a blind. An ante
is a like a buy-in to each hand. It is a required wager of all players in a hand
and, unlike blinds, it does not count towards any subsequent pot, but it does go
into the pot.
A game of 7 Card Stud Poker can accommodate up to eight players. A hand
begins with a three-card deal to each player. What is important to know about
the deal is that the first two cards are dealt faced down, but the third card,
the “door card,” is dealt face up. Players can look at their hands when the deal
is complete. Whichever player has the lowest card showing is responsible for the
“bring in.” The bring in is a bet amounting to a fraction of the whole bet, to
stimulate the action. This player may also choose to wager a complete bet. The
betting action goes around the table clockwise, and after all remaining players
have acted, the bring-in player can later pay the entire bet to the pot or raise
the pot, should he wish to stay in the hand. If he does not want to stay in the
game, he may also choose to fold. The initial deal and betting round is called
3rd street, referring to the three cards that have been dealt.
At the end of the first betting round, the dealer burns a card and deals each
player a fourth card face up, beginning at his left. This round is called 4th
street. The next round of betting begins differently this time. The highest
ranking card showing, or the highest combination showing, designates who bets
first, instead of the lowest card showing like in the previous round. At this
point, the highest showing hand possible would be A/A. If two players both have
the same highest ranking hands, whichever player sits closest to the dealer will
be the first to act.
The player in the position to act must fold, check, or bet. At this stage of
betting, all players can now wager at the highest limit available for the game.
This rule is also applied to each subsequent betting rounds. After this round of
betting, the same wagering process repeats twice, each with a burn card and a
one-card deal (5th and 6th street) until there are four showing cards in front
of each player.
The next round is different, though. The 7th street is dealt face down,
instead of face up. Now each player who remains in the hand holds three
concealed cards with four cards showing, and one last betting round ensues.
Players who have stayed in the action this long now show their cards; the last
player to bet must show his hand first, then the player to his left and so on.
Players, who wish to showdown, show their cards, anyone else may muck. The best
five-card poker hand wins.
Behind every variation of poker is a history full of myths and half-truths;
thus the most common belief surrounding the origination of Stud Poker is that it
initially surfaced in the US during the American Civil War in the early 1860s.
Legend has it that Stud Poker, or Stud-Horse as it was called, was originated by
western cowboys in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, who first played 5 Card Stud.
Five Card Stud was declared an official poker variant in 1864 by The American
Hoyle, though Draw Poker was the most popular poker game played until the early
20th century when 7 Card Stud first emerged. Exactly where 7 Card Stud came from
is unknown, but it was the most popular form of poker both on the professional
circuit and in casinos until Texas Hold ‘em caught on, which has become the most
widely played and popular poker game worldwide.
Here are a few pointers to get you started at a 7-Card Stud table. First of
all, you will want to go into the game with a bankroll that amounts to at least
40 times the low limit. If you can’t afford this at the table you are playing
at, find a lower-limit table where you can. Secondly, when it comes to antes, in
lower-staked games, the ante is typically 10% of the low bet limit. As bet
limits increase, so do the antes. They can go as high as 25%. Higher antes alter
the nature of the game because a proportionally bigger pot makes it more
worthwhile to steal antes. Higher antes mean faster and more intense games,
which require an adjustment to strategy techniques and these tables should be
left to the experienced players. Even players who start at low-limit tables have
problems with the transition from low to higher limits. Rookie Stud players do
not do well at high limit tables, so learning to play becomes very expensive at
those levels. New players should not overestimate the value of skill, an
important component of 7 Card Stud.
Card recall and card analysis are also key to a successful Stud game. This
skill will probably take practice, unless you can memorize the hands. Either
way, you must learn to study what is showing on the table and know how to
interpret it quickly. Observing the door cards at the onset of a hand is
critical and must be done quickly, before your opponents begin folding and
raising. You must be able to mentally determine in a short amount of time a lot
of important information. You must decide what will help/hurt your situation,
what will help/hurt the player receiving the action, and what will help/hurt
other players’ hands. Seven Card Stud is a complex game that takes concentration
and patience. Once you master these things, you can then work on more
complicated strategy methods.
Poker, as a whole, is an evolving institution, as the game has been
repeatedly analyzed and modified for hundreds of years. Today, the most accepted
and prevalent form of poker is Texas Hold ‘em, but the games that have come
before Texas are still revered and kept alive. The majority of games played at
poker tournaments throughout the world are derivations of 7 Card Stud, including
Texas Hold ‘em, and it is still a very fashionable game in casinos, online, and
in home games. Seven Card Stud is one of those games that has served an
important role in the evolution of poker, and while it has been retired as “most
popular,” many poker lovers still enjoy playing it.