Stud game rules

Stud rules

Stud is considered as one of the oldest type of poker. 7-Card Stud is the most popular game. All the players are dealt seven cards in this poker type, but combination consists of the 5 best cards. The standard poker combinations are used for determination of a poker winner.

Features of game process

We offer you to get acquainted with the course of stud game:

  • All players pay a mandatory bet called ante.
  • The first three cards are dealt and the betting rounds start.
  • All players get one card. The one with best cards acts the first. This pattern applies to all the streets of betting rounds.
  • Then, another one card is dealt and this continues until the seventh street of betting round.  
  • The game finishes with showdown, in which the winner is determined.

Betting rules

The stud is played in 3 different bets formats:

  • Fixed-limit
  • Pot-limit
  • No-limit

The fixed-limit Stud is the most popular game. For example in a game with $4/$8 limit the small bet will be $4 and the big bet – $8. In the table below, it is listed the most common betting structure in 7-Card Stud (antes, bring-ins and initial bets for the various limits).

LimitAnteBring-inInitial bet

Before the start of hand, all the players should post the ante. Usually, the amount of ante is 10% of a big bet ($0,80 in our example).

There are 5 betting rounds in the game. In the first two rounds the participants play with the small bets and in the remaining rounds, they make big bets.

Stud poker

​​Betting rounds

The game starts with a moment where all the players at the table should post an ante. As we have stated above the ante size is traditionally 10% of a big bet.

The first betting round (the third street)

Each player is dealt the 3 cards where 2 of them are face-down and one card is face-up. The player with the smallest face-up card should post the bring-in. If several players at the table have the same low cards then card suit is used for determination of player who must post the bring-in.

In the 7 Card Stud suits are defined from the lowest suit to the highest one this way: clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades.


Hero: х х 5♣

Opponent: х х 5♥

Despite the fact that the cards value is the same, Hero should pay the bring-in because his suit is weaker.

The round starts from the player who posted the bring-in in clockwise order. The player who should pay the bring-in has two variants:

  • Pay the bring-in that is equal to an ante size
  • Make the raise equal to a small bet level.

The players who act after the bring-in can fold, call or make a bet.

The second betting round (the fourth street)

Each player involved in the hand gets another face-up card. The player who has the strongest combination of two face-up cards is the first one to act.


Hero: х х 10♥ 7♣

Opponent: х х 8♣ 5 ♥

In this example Hero is the first player to act because 10-high is better than 8-high.

The third betting round (the fifth street)

The players who remained in the hand get another face-up card. The player with the strongest combination of three face-up cards is the first to act.

Stud game

The fourth betting round (the sixth street)

Each player gets another face-up card. The player with the strongest face-up cards combination will be the first one to act again.

The fifth betting round/ River (the seventh street)

The players get the last card that is dealt face-down. And again, the player with the strongest face-up hand will be the first one to act.

It is important to know: in the game with eight players at the table the last card is a common one and it’s dealt in the middle of the table as a face-up card. This happens because of lack of the cards in the deck for all the players.


The player who took the last active action (raise/ 3-bet) is the first one to show the cards. If there were no bets in a fifth betting round/ the seventh street then a showdown is carried out in clockwise order from the first box. If several players have the same best hand then the pot will be divided between them. The suits are not considered at showdown.

7-Card Stud Hi/Lo

It is a variety of Stud where the combination strength is estimated not only by ranking but also according to a low combination principle (i. e. there can be two winners who divide the pot between each other).

In a 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo the low-combination should fulfill an “eight or better” stipulation, i. e. in order to get a share of the pot for a low-combination the highest card in it should not be higher than 8 (in this case an ace is considered as the lowest card). The flushes or straights in low-combinations are not taken into account, so the best low-hand is a wheel (A 2 3 4 5). If nobody hit a low-combination then the player with the best high-combination will take all the pot.

7-Card Stud

The nuances of 7-Card Stud strategy

When playing this game, it is important to consider a number of the following factors:

  • You should participate in hand only with the prospective hands.
  • Flush-draw and straight-draw are very valuable and they are considered as the strong hands.
  • Evaluate your rivals’ cards. During the game process, you can see most of your opponents' cards, so you won’t have problems with understanding the strength of your rivals’ hands.
  • Keep watch over the other players. By analogy with Hold'em, you can monitor your rivals’ actions and after showdown stage, you are able to get information concerning the behavior of your rivals in hand. This will help you in the next hands.

Beginners' mistakes in 7-Card Stud

Let's review the most common mistakes made by the beginners.

  • Playing too many hand ranges.
  • Ignoring the cards that have already got out of the game.
  • Continuation of play even with the modest combinations and weak draws.
  • Passive play with strong hands.
  • Playing with a draw that is most likely to form the worst hand. For example, calling your opponent’s raise who has three cards to flush (and you have a straight draw) will probably finish not very successful.
  • Focusing on your play and inattention to your rivals’ actions.
  • Lack of aggression on the third street (lack of initiative), as well as lack of confidence in hand protection on the fourth and fifth streets.
  • Calling all the way to the river without sufficient pot odds.
  • Passive play (call) instead of more aggressive one (raise) with a better hand.

Key skills of a successful play in 7-Card Stud

  • Strict hand selection;
  • Discipline (in other words, patience means the ability to wait for a good hand without risking with combinations that have a secondary strength);
  • Reads on the opponents;
  • Ability to memorize the players’ open cards.

Many professional players like to play stud. The famous and successful poker player Daniel Negreanu shares his video and tells about the basics on how to play 7-Card Stud, as well as desribes examples.

To sum things up, it is worth saying that 7-Card Stud is very interesting game that can help you take your mind off the habitual disciplines. There are regular and big poker series in this discipline. If you get acquainted with its rules in more details and develop a good strategy, you will be able to start play for real money.

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