How To Play Seven-Card Stud

Three generational family gathered around table playing card game
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This how-to will teach you the rules and how to play seven-card stud poker, a classic poker game. You can also play this game hi-lo, but these instructions are just for playing the traditional high-hand wins all version.

The most important thing to remember when beginning to learn this game is that you get 7 cards to pick from to make your final 5 card hand, and you don't have to use any specific ones of the 7 you're dealt, just whichever 5 give you the highest hand.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 15 Minutes

Here's How:

  1. All players put in an ante.
  2. Starting to his/her left, the dealer deals each player two cards down (called hole or pocket cards) and one card face-up.
  3. Everyone looks at their hole cards.
  4. The player with the lowest card showing face-up has to put in a small bet called a "bring in." Then betting continues to that low-card player's left. Each player can call, raise, or fold their cards.

    For more detail on betting, read Betting Basics.
  5. After the betting is completed, another card is dealt to each player face-up. This card is also known as "fourth street" or "the turn."
  6. Another round of betting occurs, starting now with the player with the highest cards showing. From fourth street on, the player with the highest cards showing will continue to be the first to bet.
  7. After betting is complete, the fifth card (fifth street or the river) is dealth face-up. More betting occurs, then the sixth card is dealth face up. More betting.
  1. The 7th and final card is dealt face-down to the players remaining in the hand. A final round of betting occurs.
  2. The players show their hands at the showdown. The player who can make the best five-card hand from the seven they were dealt, wins.

    (Not sure what hands beat what? Here's a list of hand rankings.)

    What You Need:

    • 52-Card Deck
    • Chips
    • 2-7 Players