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This famous poker variant has been around far longer than the likes of Texas Hold’em. In fact, you might call 7 Card Stud the ancestor of Hold’em – the two games have more in common than you might think, given that Stud games use no shared community cards.
Read on to explore the rules of 7 Card Stud, as well as the hi-lo version of the game (often known as 7 Card Stud Eight or Better). Know the game already? Hit the button below to sign up in just seconds and find a game right now – you just need an email address, nothing more.Sign up
Stud poker was being played long before Texas Hold’em, and it’s easy to see how the younger, more popular poker variant evolved from 7 Card Stud:
However, the crucial difference lies in the lack of shared community cards:
It’s also worth mentioning that 7 Card Stud is played as a fixed limit game, with prescribed betting units used throughout rather than the possibility of going all in at any time. ‘Small bets’ are used through fourth street (see below), after which ‘big bets’ are used (usually double a small bet). A betting round will usually have a cap of one bet and three raises.
Let’s take a closer look at how a hand plays out.
Each player receives two hole cards and one up-card, visible to all players. The player showing the lowest up-card (aces are high) must ‘bring it in’ with a forced bet. They may choose to make it a full small bet, or a smaller amount (usually half a bet). Remember that all bets in Stud are in units of a fixed size. Other players may call, fold or raise.
Another up-card is dealt to all remaining players. First to act is the player showing the best hand in their two up-cards, whether that’s a pair or the highest card/kicker combo showing. Another betting round follows, using the small bet units.
Each player still in the hand receives another up-card, and once again the best hand is first to act. From this point until the end of the hand, all bets are in big bet units.
The final up-card is dealt to all remaining players, followed by another betting round.
Any remaining players receive their final card of the hand, face-down, and the final betting round takes place. Once again, the strongest visible hand leads the betting, and all bets are as big units. The strongest hand at showdown wins the pot.
7 Card Stud poker can also be played as a pure lowball game, where each player tries to make the worst, lowest hand they can make. In this format it’s known as ‘Razz’, but the game also lends itself well to a hi-lo format. In this guide it’s often referred to as 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo, 7 Card Stud Eight or Better, Stud 8/b, or simply Stud8.
Why all the ‘8’s? That’s because in this hi-lo game, the low part of the pot can only be won by a hand that contains no pairs or cards higher than an 8.
Still confused? Let’s examine how hi-lo poker games work.
Hi-lo poker games are also known as ‘split pot’ games, because the pot is often split between the highest and lowest hands.
In the case of 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo, the game plays out normally, street by street, just as it would if you were playing regular 7 Card Stud. At showdown, the holder of the best hand is guaranteed at least half of the pot, while the other half is awarded to the best low hand.
But, as we mention above, the low hand can only win half the pot if it qualifies. And that means no pairs, and no cards ranked nine or above. Aces count as low for low hands and high for high hands, while straights and flushes won’t count against your low hand.
That means you can win both the high and the low halves of a pot, and even using the same cards!
Stud poker is available at Replay Poker in ring game, Sit’N’Go and multi-table tournament formats. Stud poker players at Replay Poker always have an incentive to improve, as our Leaderboards award top performers with bonus chips every week!
Keep an eye on our promotions section, as you’ll often find exciting Stud poker promos running all through the year.
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