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7 Card Stud Crash Course

Seven card stud at one time was the most popular card game poker in the United States. While its popularity has certainly waned in the light of community games such as Texas hold’em and Omaha, the game is seeing new life in online casinos and many new young players are taking a liking to the game. Seven card stud can actually be quite complicated and requires some extra skills and techniques in order for a player to be successful. This article will cover the basics of seven card stud and get you off on the right path.

Starting Hand Selection

In 7 card stud your starting hand is your first three cards. You will get two face down and one card face up. Like other poker games, you only want to play the best of hands and you will need to be very selective in order to be successful. The following is a list of the best starting hands in seven card stud:

  • Jacks or better split (one of the pair is exposed)
  • Nines or better wired (both paired cards are concealed)
  • Trips (absolute best starting hand you can get)
  • Three high cards to a flush
  • Three high cards to a straight (even this is questionable)


The real nice thing about seven card stud in terms of starting hand selection is that it doesn’t get much more complicated than simply looking for the hands above. There are a few situations where you’ll need to play more hands, but those will be covered in the intermediate and advanced articles. For now, as long as you stick to low limit games you will be in good shape if you stick to the hands listed above.

Other important factors

We mentioned earlier that 7 card stud required some extra skills and techniques. The main one we are concerned with is memorization. This can be learned, but the important thing is just to realize that you need to constantly keep an eye on everyone’s cards in seven card stud. Remember these important points when first sitting down to play seven card stud:

  • Commit to memory the cards that are already out on the board and the cards that have been folded away.
  • Realize that the cards in play or those that have already been folded have a direct affect on what hands both you and your opponents can make. In the intermediate and advanced sections, we will discuss how to figure out when your hand is alive or dead.
  • Seeing how a player reacts directly after they receive a new card is critical in seven card stud. Often times you can tell exactly what your opponents are holding simply by watching how they bet after a card comes.

The reason this is so important is because many beginners will sit down to play seven card stud without ever realizing the importance of paying attention to the board cards. These cards define the character of a hand and provide critical insight as to what opponents might hold. A person who can commit cards on the board to memory and successfully use them to deduce a strategy for play will be very successful. On the other hand, a player who pays little attention to the up cards will find themselves on hard times fast.

Game Specific Strategy