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Seven-card stud, often abbreviated to seven-stud or 7-stud, is probably the most traditional form of poker played in public cardrooms at present. It is played in both high-only and high-low variants; the former is usually assumed to be the default but can be specified as "stud high" if necessary. This article concerns the high variant of seven-stud; see Seven-card stud hi-lo for the high-low split-pot variant.

Unlike community card games such as hold 'em, in stud each player has a separate hand. Because of the presence of exposed upcards, a diligent player can obtain a good deal of information on what cards are already dead, or dealt to other hands. Thus stud rewards players who both observe their opponents' folded hands carefully and remember their contents.

Seven-card stud is traditionally dealt with a total of three downcards and four upcards to each player. It is usually dealt in five rounds, with the dealer dealing clockwise, starting with the player to their immediate left. Between each round of dealing, a round of betting ensues, where players can choose to check, bet, fold, or raise (with the exception of the bring-in, see below). The five rounds of dealing are:

  1. All players receive two downcards and one upcard. This starts each player with three cards, two of which are hidden from other players.
  2. All players remaining in the game are dealt a second upcard
  3. All players remaining in the game are dealt a third upcard
  4. All players remaining in the game are dealt a fourth upcard
  5. All players remaining in the game are dealt a third downcard. This is the final card dealt in the hand.

A final round of betting then follows, and the lead-betting hand is exposed, and the winner is declared and pushed the pot (or in the hi-lo split variant, both winners are pushed their shares of the pot).

Antes and Bring In

Unlike in Hold 'em, there are no blinds in 7-Card Stud. The initial pot is built in two ways:

  1. In some 7-card stud games, players are forced to make a small token bet (usually a single chip of the smallest denomination) into the pot prior to the initial deal. This is called the ante, and provides some initial money in the pot for the players to try to win. Antes are not required, and some stud games do not use them, but they are very common.
  2. In all 7-card stud games, the bring-in is used to force action on the initial betting round. The bring-in is an initial small bet (usually an amount equal to half of the smallest usually-allowed betting amount in the game; for example, in a $2/$4 limit stud game the bring-in would often be $1) that must be paid into the pot by the player holding the lowest upcard. At this point, each player has one upcard showing, so one player must have the lowest card (Aces count as high). In case of a tie, bridge suits are used to determine the lowest card. The holder of the lowest card must bet either the bring-in amount, or they can choose to bet a full small bet if they choose to do so, instead; but they cannot check. This bring-in bet forces action and generally works to narrow the field somewhat after the first betting round.

TODO: eventually we'll have articles on each street, I suppose, along with whatever else develops.

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