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Seven-Card Stud Rules and Strategy

Seven-Card Stud used to be the most popular poker variant in the USA before Holdem came along. Even today it is one of the home game favorites, and most online poker rooms offer it too.

Stud is not a community card game like Holdem and Omaha and it is not played with blinds. The compulsory bets here are antes and every player who intends to take part in a hand needs to pay them.

After the ante-up, the dealer gives each player three cards, out of which two shall be placed face down (only for their owner to see) and one face-up. This face-up card can be seen by the entire table. The player who has the lowest such face-up card needs to bring it in, that is, place a compulsory bet which will become the catalyst of the action. If two players have the same lowest card, suit can be used as a tie-breaker.

The other players get to choose whether they want to call the forced bet, raise it or whether they want to fold.
After the first betting round, each player gets another face-card. From this round on, the poker hand made by the up-cards will determine who acts first in a betting round. The player with the highest hand usually has this honor.
The fourth card is followed by another betting round. The 5th card is also a face-card, followed by another betting round, the 6th card is yet another face card and the 7th and final card is a hole card.

After the final betting round, those who are still in the game get to show down a 5-card poker hand which they make using the 7 cards they were dealt through the hand. The player with the highest poker hand wins.

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