One of the original forms of poker, 7 Card Stud is still popular in many places, especially among the older generation of players.
Many players feel Stud is a purer form of poker, since it relies more on playing (and remembering) cards and hands than on playing the players and manipulating pots with creative betting, as in a game like Texas Hold'em.
Stud is also a much slower game, each hand taking over twice as long as a typical Hold'em hand to play out. For this reason, players more into cards and math, such as bridge players, feel very much at home sitting around a Stud table.
Stud is primarily played using one of three betting structures:
Fixed-Limit 7 Card Stud
The most common betting structure in 7 Card Stud is that of Fixed-Limit, as detailed below. Detailed rules for the ante and bring can be found in this article: 7 Card Stud Rules and Game-Play.
- In Limit Stud the betting limits are fixed at set amounts.
- The size of the game is determined by the bet size. For example, in a $4/$8 game the small bet is $4 and the big bet is $8.
- The ante is typically 10% of the big bet.
- A minimum bring is equal to the ante.
- Betting and raising is done in increments of the big or small bet (depending on what street the betting is taking place.)
- For the first two betting rounds, betting is done in increments of the small bet. So in our example a bet would be $4, and a raise would be an additional $4 making a total bet of $8.
- In the last three betting rounds, betting is done in increments of the big bet. A bet would be $8 while a raise would be to $16.
The limit betting structure puts a cap on the number of raises. In most venues there is a maximum of a bet and three raises, although some rooms have a cap of four raises.
One popular betting structure, known as Spread-Limit, is typically exclusive to Stud (occasionally players will play other games as Spread-Limit, but it's extremely rare).
This betting structure is the rarest and as such the least standardized of all Stud structures. The rules you will encounter in one room may change to the next. Even with the variation in specific rules, the standard concepts stay the same:
- There is a set minimum bet and a set maximum bet.
- All bets made on any street must be at or between the limits.
- For example, in a $1 to $5 Spread-Limit game, a player can bet as little as $1 or as much as $5 at any time.
- In a variation of Spread-Limit, the limit doubles on the later streets. For example "$1 to $5 with a $10 on the end" would allow bets from $1 to $10 on the later betting streets.
- A minimum raise is double the previous bet.
- A maximum raise is raising by the top end of the spread limit. For example:
- If a player bets $2 in our $1 to $5 game, a minimum raise would be a bet of $4, a maximum raise would be a bet of $7.
- If a player bets $5 the only allowable raise would be raising by $5 for a total bet of $10.
- Typically there is a cap on raises, just as in a Limit game. The number of allowable raises changes depending on the house rules, but most often you're allowed one bet and three raises.
- Many low-limit Spread-Limit games have no ante, but the ones that do have one typically set it around 25% of the minimum bet.
- The minimum bring is equal to the ante (or in some places without an ante, the minimum bring is equal to the bottom end of the spread).
- A player wishing to complete the bring can bet any amount within the spread.
For high-limit Stud players looking for lots of action, Pot-Limit is the only way to go. Because there are five betting rounds in Stud, as compared to four in Hold'em or Omaha, a Pot-Limit Stud game can play much larger than a Pot-Limit game of another form.
Just as No-Limit is deemed unsuitable for Omaha, many players feel that Pot-Limit is not a suitable fit for Stud games. If action is what you're looking for, Pot-Limit may be the only betting variation you need.
- The size of the game depends on the size of the buy-in and ante amount. Typically the ante is around 1/200th of the buy-in, making a $1 ante for a $200 buy-in game.
- The bring minimum is equal to the size of the ante.
- How you determine the maximum bet is by counting all the money in the pot and all the bets on the table, including any call you would make before raising. (It sounds more complicated than it really is). Two examples for you:
- You're first to act on third street (you need to bring) with a pot of $5. You have the option to bet as little as the amount of the ante ($1) or as much as the pot ($5). Any bet in between is a "legal bet."
- You're second to act on fourth street. With a pot of $15, the first player bets $10. You now have the option to fold, call ($10) or raise.
- Your minimum raise is equal to the amount of the previous bet. In this hand your minimum raise is $10 ($10 + $10 for a total bet of $20).
- Your maximum raise is the amount of the pot. To do this, add up the pot + the bet + your call ($15 + $10 + $10 = $35). You are allowed to bet that total amount in addition to your call, meaning your total bet is $45 ($10 for the call + $35 for the size of the pot).
- You can raise any amount in between the minimum and the maximum raise amount.