In 7 Card Stud each player, starting to the dealer's left, is initially dealt two cards face down and one card face up. Then there is a round of betting. Three more cards, one at a time, are then dealt out face up to every player in turn, with a round of betting in-between each deal. Finally, each player is dealt a seventh, and final, card face down. There is one last round of betting before the Showdown.
In the Showdown, the remaining players make the best five-card poker hand out of their three face down cards and four face up cards. The player with the highest ranked hand wins the pot. In the case of ties, the pot is split.
1. The Deal - Each player gets two cards face down and one card face up.
2. 1st round of betting.
3. Each player is dealt one more card face up.
4. 2nd round of betting.
5. Each player is dealt one more card face up.
6. 3rd round of betting.
7. Each player is dealt one more card face up.
8. 4th round of betting.
9. Each player is dealt one final card face down.
10. 5th round of betting.
11. The Showdown - winner takes all!
The following assumes a fixed-limit betting structure with a three-raise maximum. Examples are based on a sample $5/$10 betting structure.
Before the deal, every player must post an ante, usually 10%-25% of the lower betting limit. This ensures that every player has a stake in the hand and that no player gets to see their cards for free.
After the deal, the player with the lowest card showing "on the board" places a forced bet called the “bring-in”, usually half the lower betting limit (ie. In a $5/$10 game, the first to bet has the option of betting $2.50 or $5). In case of ties, value of the low card is determined by suit (from lowest to highest: Clubs - Diamonds - Hearts - Spades). Although Aces are generally considered high and low, for the purposes of determining first to bet in betting round one, Aces are considered high.
Betting then continues in a clockwise direction. The second player to bet can either fold, call the "bring in", or "complete the bet", doubling the bring-in thus bringing the bet to the lower betting limit. Completing the bet is not considered an actual raise. If a player, in the first round of betting, wishes to raise once the bet is completed, they may raise the exact amount of the lower betting limit. (ie. The first player to bet posts the “bring” in of $2.50, the second player completes the bet by placing $2.50 + $2.50 or $5 total into the pot, players can now raise the pot in $5 increments a maximum of three times.)
In all subsequent rounds of betting, the first player to bet is the one with the highest ranked hand showing (based on face up cards only). In case of ties, the player closest to the dealer’s left begins. Once the player first to bet is chosen, betting continues from player to player in a clockwise direction around the table.
In the second round of betting (players now have two cards face down and two cards face up), the first player to bet (the one with the highest ranked hand showing) must bet either check, fold, or bet the lower betting limit, unless they have a pair showing, in which case they can bet either the lower or the upper betting limit. If no player is showing a pair, subsequent raises must be in increments of the lower betting limit. If any player is showing a pair, even if that player only initially bet the lower betting limit, subsequent players may choose to raise either the lower or upper betting limit. Once a player has bet the upper betting limit, all subsequent raises must be in increments of that same upper betting limit. (ie. The first player to bet has a pair, but only bets $5. The second player to bet has no pair showing, but still exercises their option to raise $10, making the total bet $15, the third player to bet can either fold, call $15, or raise to $25.)
For the remaining rounds of betting, players may only bet and raise based on the upper betting limit for that game (ie. In $10 increments)
One final note: If you leave your seat at the 7 Card Stud table in the middle of a hand, you forfeit your ante and forced bet, if any. You will continue to be dealt cards until a bet is placed, at which point if you haven't returned to your seat your hand will be automatically "killed" or folded.