History, popularity and how to play
7 Card Stud is a well known poker variant and mainstay of many casinos and online poker sites. It's taken centre stage in comparison to other stud variants in modern times. Unusually the popularity of stud poker games can be traced back to various conflicts and wars. During the American Revolutionary War for instance, a four card version was all the rage, and during the Civil War, 5 Card Stud proved to be a morale boost and welcome distraction for troops. The specific origins of 7 Card Stud are unknown, though to the wider question, the origins of poker itself are thought to come from a French game called Poque. Others though point to an old Persian game called Nas as its roots. The 'Pokerface' aspect of poker, aka bluffing, is thought to come from the English game of three card brag. In short, the game's beginnings are a tangled web.
Once again, in the wider sense, poker is immensely popular. From televised multi-million dollar tournaments to online poker platforms attracting millions of eager players, there is certainly no shortage of interest. 7 Card Stud has no lack of fans either. Within popular culture it's been featured in iconic TV series such as The Sopranos and the growth of online play benefited Stud poker immensely, along with the ever popular Omaha and Hold'em. 7 Card Stud offshoots such as Razz (where you have to get the lowest hand possible) are also popular; Razz is even played at the World Series of Poker. In the US, 7 Card Stud is well known for being popular in east coast casinos. While not quite at the levels of Texas Hold'em, the game attracts a dedicated following both online and off, and is often an eventful, unpredictable and exciting game to play.
How to Play
As with most poker games, a degree of skill, analysis and bluffing can be required to stand a good chance of winning. This is certainly not one of the more 'pot luck' casino games out there, and so it pays to both watch and learn, before attempting to hit the big league.
In 7 Card Stud players are initially dealt two cards face down and one face up. Whoever has the lowest value card facing up has to pay the 'bring in' (the first bet of the game). Where two players have the same value, card suit may then be factored in. A burn card is dealt between rounds to discourage cheating. After the first round of betting a second face up card is dealt to each player beginning with the one whose upcards currently make the best hand. This is also true of the next two rounds too.
After four rounds (two down, four up cards), on the fifth and final round the cards are dealt face down. Then at showdown (when players reveal their cards) each player makes the best 5 card hand possible out of those available.
A knowledge of the hand ranks in poker will of course be indispensable to wannabe poker pros.
Basics such as a good understanding of what hands can be formed are vital in coming out on top in 7 Card Stud. Unlike some poker variants you have the ability to see four of your own and other players cards and so are able to make decisions based on the information available to you. For instance, if you have a big pair against one or two opponents you may stand a good chance of winning based on probability.
Holding one or more high cards can also be a positive positive sign. However if you have a King and one or more of your opponents have an Ace, tread carefully. Patience and discipline in waiting for a good hand is invaluable in 7 Card Stud. Most of all though, as with any game of skill, practice, practice, practice!
Gareth the Gambler