Seven Card Stud is a poker variation that is easy to learn and offers its players an action packed game that requires analytical thought, a decent memory and a shrewdness for bluffing. Stud’s slightly more complex version is Stud High/Low, also commonly called Stud Eight or Better. If you are new to Stud, it is probably best to read our Seven Card Stud High section to learn the basics before venturing into Stud High/Low.
No one is quite sure where Stud originated, but it was believed to have come about during the American Civil War in the 1800s. Back then, draw poker was the most popular variation but was quickly replaced by the older version of Stud which was then played with five cards rather than the seven we more often see today. The game was aptly named after the cowboys of the Midwest who first began playing Stud. Its popularity grew and the game evolved to include seven cards. By the 1980s, many poker pros were making a living playing Seven Card Stud, and it became the most well-known poker game in casinos around the world.
While both Seven Card Stud and Stud High/Low both use the same betting rules and basic structure, the goals of the two games are somewhat different. Rather than only trying to make the best five card high poker hand, players also attempt to create the best five card low hand (if it qualifies). The pot is often split (or “chopped”) between two or more holdings.
It is important to note that a 5 card hand will only qualify to make a low if no two paired cards are present and there is no card above an eight. Aces can be used as high cards or low cards, which make them quite valuable in split pot games. If there is no qualifying low, players only compete for a high hand.
Seven Card Stud High/Low is typically played as a limit game, meaning that the players must only bet in increments that have been predetermined (as opposed to a No Limit game, in which players may bet any amount until they are out of chips). Players do not post blinds or share community cards like they do in Flop games such as Hold’em and Omaha. Instead, they are forced to all post an equal small amount called an ante before each hand is dealt, and they are each dealt their own personal cards (not to be shared with any other players at the table).
Because there are only 52 cards in a deck, Stud High/Low is played with a maximum of eight players. After the antes are collected, each player receives two hole cards (dealt face down) and one up card (dealt face up for all players to see). Throughout the rest of the hand, each player will be dealt three more up cards and an additional down card, one at a time with a round of betting following each card. If a Stud hand is dealt to completion, each player will have four up cards and three down cards. The way Stud is dealt and the betting structure is quite unique (especially for those who are accustomed to Flop games like Texas Hold’em) so reading the Rules page is essential before sitting down at a table to practice.
Now that you have an idea about what Seven Card Stud High/Low might have to offer you in the way of fun and financial opportunity, read the Rules page and then the Stud High/Low Strategy article to help guide you in the right direction before taking your newfound skill to the felt.
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