Stud poker is any poker variant in which the players receive both face-down and face-up cards. Stud games are also "non-positional" games, meaning that the player who bets first on each round may change on each round (the opening bettor is usually the player whose face-up cards make the best hand).
Seven-card stud is a variant of stud poker. Until the recent popularity of Texas hold 'em, seven-card stud was the most popular poker variant in home games and most casinos in the U.S.
In stud poker, the betting rounds are named after the number of cards that each player holds when that betting round begins. So the bet that occurs when each player has three cards is called "third street", while the bet that occurs when each player has five cards is "fifth street". The final round, regardless of the number of betting rounds, is commonly called the "river".
All players must first ante before they receive their initial hole cards. There are five betting rounds in a game of 7 Card Stud, not including the ante.
On the first round of betting, the player with the lowest upcard showing may not fold, but instead must make a forced bet, called the "bring-in". Suits are ranked: spades (highest), hearts, diamonds, clubs. The amount of the bring-in is usually less than the small bet in the game ($2 in a $2/$4 game). The bring-in might be $1 in a $2–$4 game. The player who makes the bring-in bet can choose to bring it in for a full bet ($2 in a $2–$4 game) instead of the smaller amount.
The betting then continues clockwise. Players must either call the bring-in bet, or, if the opening bettor did not post a full bet, they can choose to "complete the bet" for the full amount. Betting continues until all of the players have acted.
On the next round of betting (4th street) each later round of betting, the player with the highest hand showing initiates the betting action (they have the option to check). The highest possible hand at this point is only one pair. The betting limit on this round is again at the lower limit ($2 in a $2/$4 game)
After 4th street is complete, the later rounds (5th street, 6th street, and the river) are played the same way as 4th street, except that they are bet at the higher limit $4 in a $2/$4 game.
When playing 7-card stud, it is possible to run out of cards if all eight players stay in for the entire hand because you would need 56 cards. If this happens, the dealer may deal the last card as a community card.
In games where the players have a lot of skill, you rarely run out of cards because so many of the players fold their hands.
EricBurkholz01 on March 1, 2019
HPG ADMIN on March 5, 2013