7-Card Stud – How to Play Online
Perhaps Hold’em does not appeal at the moment, but you want to stick with gaming at the online poker table. A few sessions of online 7-card stud is an excellent way to mix things up a bit and keep your online poker fresh.
In some respects online 7-card stud is not that different from Texas and Omaha Hold’em – the main difference being that there are no community cards.
While some of the cards constituting a player’s hands are made visible to all the other players at the table, these face-up cards only contribute to the player’s own hand. Furthermore, the cards dealt face-down are made visible to you or anybody else at the table until the end of the hand. For that reason these cards are referred to as ‘hole’ cards, or as being ‘in the hole’. As the name of the game implies, a player’s hand is ultimately formed from any 5 of the 7 cards dealt.
The 5 of 7 hand formulation is one obvious similarity between Texas Hold’em and online 7-card stud, and also like Hold’em, a player’s hand is dealt in stages of 1 to 3 cards at a time. However, unlike Hold’em, 7-card stud requires all the players at the online poker table ante before any cards are dealt. If it is a limit table, the ante will usually be no more than half of the lower betting limit. Generally the following round of betting will also be at this reduced quantity.
The ante should not be confused with the small or big ‘blinds’ in a Hold’em game. There is something similar to a blind in 7-card stud, but comes after the first round of cards has been dealt. This first round of cards is dealt with 2 in the hole and one face-up. Whoever shows the lowest up-card will be required to put the ‘bring-in’ into the pot. Like the ante, this is in most cases only half the lower betting limit. The other players, however, are not required to ‘bring-in’ and may choose to fold, check, raise, or call. Note that the first full minimum bet does not constitute a raise on the ‘bring-in’, just like the big blind in Hold’em is not a raise on the small blind.
After the initial round of betting, another three cards will be dealt one at a time and face-up. Between the dealing of each card a round of betting will take place. As the rounds progress the players will be able to observe some hands get stronger and others weaken. As soon as all three cards have been dealt, each player will display four up cards in total. This is a great gaming twist, as one can readily gauge the extent to which their and their opponents’ hands hold promise, as well as which hand is probably strongest in relation to all the others. These intermittent rounds of betting are all initiated (unlike the very first round) by the player showing the strongest cards.
Even though 2/3rds of every player’s hand is now visible, nobody knows if a player’s hole cards will serve to complete the cards that are face-up. Betting in online 7-card stud is then really about estimating or calculating the odds of one of your hole cards finishing the hand. The competition tends to dwindle, and the last round of betting is often a showdown between only two or three players. This ‘showdown’ stage takes place after the final card is dealt to the remaining players’ holes. A lot of folding and raising will usually take place. Those left standing reveal their hole cards and the highest ranking hand takes the pot.
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