A game of seven card stud is dealt in rounds, or streets.
Betting Rounds – The Seven Card Deal
The first dealing round consists of each player getting two cards face down (hole or pocket cards) and one card face up (the door card).
There is then a round of betting. After the dealer burns the top card (puts it face down out of play; this practice is followed on each subsequent street as well), each player is then dealt another up card, called fourth street. Another round of betting ensues. Another up card (fifth street) is dealt to each player, followed by another round of betting. (It is important to note that on fifth street, the betting structure changes as the minimum bet doubles. More on this later, in the discussion of seven card stud poker betting.)
The last up card (sixth street) is now dealt to everyone left in the hand, followed by more betting.
Finally, players get one last card, called the river, dealt face down. There is one final round of betting, and anyone left in the hand must show their cards to determine the winner. This final step is called the showdown.
Now that you know how many cards you will get and when, you are ready to learn how to actually play the game. Before advancing to the hand rankings section, however, take some time to note some conventions that will be used throughout this series.
First, as you may have already noticed, key terms are in italics the first time they are used. These words can also be found in the terminology article.
Second, there is a shorthand that will be used for describing cards. An ace is abbreviated “A,” a king is “K,” and so on. In order to enable all ranks to be described with one character, ten is abbreviated “T.” After the number or capital letter denoting the card’s rank, a lower-case letter is used to describe the suit. Spades will be “s,” clubs will be “c,” hearts will be “h,” and diamonds will be “d.” So, rather than writing out “ten of spades,” the article will say “Ts.”
With all the committed to memory, you are now ready to learn the hand rankings, followed by playing pairs, premium hands and the rest of the seven card stud strategy articles. A word of caution, however: having the better hand at the showdown is only one way to win the hand.
It is not always the player with the best cards who gets to drag the pot.