Poker Beginners Guide: Chips & Limits

Seven-Card Stud is almost always played either fixed limit (usually known as just limit) or pot-limit. The betting structure is usually somewhat different to Holdem and Omaha. In flop games the action starts with two players placing blinds in the pot. In limit Seven-Card Stud, however, every single player is required to place a small forced bet (known as an ante) into the pot before the hand commences. In a $3-$6 limit game this ante might be $0.50, so if the full eight players are at the table then there is already $4 to win before the action even gets underway!

Once the first three cards are dealt the lowest open card (up card) must then either make a forced bet (the bring-in) or match the full bet for that round. (This is the situation in limit; in pot limit games the high card will bring it in).

For example, in a $3-$6 limit game the lowest up card must open the betting by either placing the bring-in into the pot (typically $1), or betting the full $3 bet for that round. The next player to act will be the player to the low cards left. If that player wants to continue in the hand he must either match the first players bet (calling the $1 or $3 respectively), raise to $3 (if the first player just brought it in for $1), or raise to $6 (if the first player bet $3). Play then continues round in a circle until every player remaining in the hand has placed an identical stake into the pot.

Sometimes two players will have the same lowest up card. In the case a tie, the player whose up card has the lowest suit must place the bring-in. Clubs are the lowest, then diamonds, then hearts, and finally spades. This is in alphabetical order, so it is quite easy to remember. It is the only aspect of poker in which one suit is considered inferior to another. As we know, a club flush is no different to a heart flush.

After the first round the betting continues in basically the same fashion as a game of limit Holdem. The main difference is that the onus of acting first on subsequent each round rests with the player holding the best up cards at that point, rather than the player to the left of the dealer. The amount of the bet stays at the lower limit ($3 in our example) for the first two rounds of betting. It then rises to $6 for the last three rounds. Just as in Holdem, play continues until one player is left alone in the pot or until all the cards have been dealt. Then, once the betting is over, there is a showdown.

There is one other special rule in limit Seven-Card Stud. If someone is showing an open pair on fourth street, then they have the option of making a big bet of $6 rather than the usual $3. They can still bet $3 or just check if they like. However, even if they decline to bet the maximum amount, then their opponents are still allowed to bet (or raise by) the full $6.