There are many who will argue that 7 card stud poker is the game for the poker purist and that Texas Hold ‘em and Omaha, now the most popular forms of the game, are dumbed down versions. Stud poker has one extra round compared to Texas Hold’em and Omaha and the betting rules are slightly more complex. The faster, Stud fans would say easier, games have risen in popularity to a large extent thanks to the increasing predominance of online poker, to which format they are better suited.
So what’s the difference?
The main format differences to the game are the set up phase as the ‘Bring’ round, as well as difference in the betting rules. Firstly, before any cards are dealt every player must bid the ‘ante’. There is no option for any player to withdraw prior to this. If, for example, the small blind is £20 and the big £40, the ante would standardly be £5.
In Stud poker each player is initially dealt three cards rather than 2, with the final card dealt face up so the whole table can see it. Once the three cards are dealt the ‘Bring’ round commences. Rather than the position from the dealer determining which player starts betting, in Stud it is the player with the lowest value card facing up. If this is a tie then, in ascending order clubs, diamonds, hears and spades rank by strength. So a 2 of spades will beat a 2 of hearts and the player with the 2 of hearts will begin.
The player who starts can either ‘bring’, meaning the ante is matched or ‘raise’ to the value of the small blind. The next player can either ‘fold’, bowing out of the game, ‘bring’, by matching the small blind or ‘raise’, to the big blind. In the first round players cannot raise the stakes higher than the big blind.
The dealing then begins with the dealer giving one additional card, face up, to all the remaining players, starting from their left hand side. The order of the betting is now determined by the strength of the two visible cards in combination. Players can now either fold, match, which means betting the small blind, or raise meaning that an addition bet equal to the small blind is added on top of the match.
In the next round another card is dealt to the remaining players, again face up, and players bet following the same pattern as in the previous round only in increments using the big blind. The next round, the sixth card to be dealt, is identical to the previous.
In the final round the players are dealt a seventh card, this time face down. Betting follows the order of the strength of the visible cards and are again to the value of the big blind. When the final bets have been made the remaining players choose their strongest five card combination, with the remaining two cards, visible or invisible, ‘dead’ cards. The strongest five card combination wins the pot.