Believed to have been introduced sometime in the early 20th century, 7 Card Stud Poker continues to thrive as a staple form in home games, brick-and-mortar poker rooms, and online poker sites
. Having spawned two equally popular variations - 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Split Eight or Better, and a low version of Seven Card Stud Poker
- all three 7 Card Stud Poker varieties are regularly featured in preliminary events of the World Series of Poker.
Consisting of five betting rounds, each player makes an attempt to form the highest ranking five-card hand from the seven cards received during the course of game play. The first round begins after all players have issued a small ante, with the dealer distributing two hole cards (face-down) and one exposed card (face-up) to each player - then ends with players either placing their wagers or folding. For each of the next three rounds, every player receives one card face-up, followed by another betting cycle. The seventh and final card is dealt face-down, and any remaining players have the option to make a last wager before the showdown.
In the case of 7 Card Stud Poker, the player with the highest ranking hand wins the pot. The Razz variation of Seven Card Stud Poker awards the pot to the lowest hand, and does not count straights and flushes against a low hand. In 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Eight or Better, game play is the same as 7 Card Stud Poker and Razz, except the pot is split between the players with the highest and lowest five-card hands - in some cases the winning low hand is also the winning high hand (such as A-2-3-4-5), due to straights and flushes being ignored in low hands.
While it is difficult to pin down precisely when the game of 7 Card Stud Poker first came into existence, this expanded stud variant rapidly spread across the United States to become the dominant home poker game for the majority of the 20th century. The two extra hole cards that served to shroud each player's hand-strength in mystery allowed for greater bluffing opportunities than Seven Card Stud Poker's five-card predecessor ever could.
In 1967, casino-based interest in 7 Card Stud Poker began to lose steam as Texas Hold'em
migrated from home games in the Lone Star State to the poker rooms of Las Vegas. However, 7 Card Stud Poker, and its popular variations, have continued to maintain a prominent status among major poker tournaments
, online poker rooms
, and home poker games
around the world. Represented in mixed poker games by the letter "S", 7 Card Stud Poker is played in HORSE, HOSE (or SHOE), and the World Series of Poker's recent event addition, a $50,000 8-game mix.
While numerous books have been written on the topic of how to win at Seven Card Stud Poker, one of the best selling guides is the book "Seven Card Stud For Advanced Players," authored by noted poker experts David Sklansky, Mason Malmuth and Ray Zee. First published in 1989, the book outlines important strategies for experienced players that can be applied to live games, as well as online 7 Card Stud Poker ring games and tournaments.
Maintaining a noteworthy status among the most popular poker forms in homes, casinos, and online poker
rooms, Seven Card Stud Poker remains one of the most important poker variants for any aspiring poker player