For the purposes of simplification, all game play examples and scenarios will be assumed to occur at $1/$2 stakes table. At this stakes level, each player antes $0.25 into the pot before the cards are dealt.
Seven Card Stud Betting Strategy
After the first three cards are dealt to each player, the player with the lowest ranking door card must begin the betting either by making a bring-in of $0.50 or making a full bet of $1. After the bring-in player bets, action continues from that player’s left around the table. Each player must either call the bet in front of them, raise, or fold their hand. Checking is not an option on this street, as the bring-in bet forces action.
On fourth street, betting changes slightly. The bet size is now $1, and betting action starts with the highest hand that is showing. That is, the player with the highest exposed pair bets first; if there are no pairs showing, then the highest card acts first. This player has the option to check or bet. If he/she checks, then each subsequent player has the option to check, until a bet is made. Once a bet is made, players must decide in turn whether to fold, call, or raise. This round continues until all bets are placed and all hands are folded all the way around the table.
On fifth street, betting changes again, as the bet size doubles to $2. The action proceeds in the same way as on fourth street, with the high hand acting first and the action proceeding clockwise around the table. Bear in mind, however, that with three cards now exposed, the high hand may not be the same as it was on fourth street. Unlike Texas Hold ‘Em, where positions remain the same throughout the course of a hand, in seven card stud position may be changing with each betting round.
Betting on sixth street and on the river works the same as on fifth street. Bet sizes do not increase after fifth street. After all cards have been dealt, bets made, and hands folded, any remaining players show their hands. The dealer awards the pot to the player with the highest accumulated five card hand (for hand rankings, see the next section).
There are two other subtle quirks that have to do with the Seven Card Stud betting structure.
First, while the common practice is for the player with the low card to bring it in during the first betting round, some games require the high card to make the bring-in. This varies depending on the venue, and it is up to the player to be aware of the rules before playing. Secondly, on fourth street, if there is a pair on the board, the first player to act has the option to make a double bet of $2 rather than the standard bet of $1.
This is the only time a double bet is allowed.