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Along with its many variants such as "baseball" and "follow-the-ace," 7-card stud was until recently the most popular of all poker game variants. The game is limited to a maximum of seven players per round.
Stud poker is just one of a number of poker games where each player is dealt a mix of face-up and face-down cards. Cards dealt face down are called "hole"cards, which is the root of the English term "ace in the hole"suggesting that someone is holding something of value out of view from the other players.
Stud poker can trace its origins back to the American War of Independence of 1775,which saw the first appearance of the 3-card stud format. The 5-card variant appeared almost 100 years later during the American Civil War of 1861. It would be another 100 years or more before the current popular version of 7-stud poker would make an appearance.
Stud poker starts with a round of ante betting with each player posting the initial bets. The dealer then deals two cards to each player, face down, plus a third card face up. The lowest exposed card is called the "bring-in"and he must continue the betting by posting a small bet. In common with many card games, a bring-in tie is resolved by referring to card suit ranks ranging from spades to hearts, diamonds and clubs, with spades being the highest value.Betting continues around the table until it is complete.
A further card is dealt to each player face up called the "fourth street." This time the player with highest fourth street is first to bet or check. Should any player show a pair with their exposed cards, betting is boosted to a big bet. If no doubles are on show, betting continues with small bets. A further card, or "fifth street" is dealt to each player, face up with the highest hand leading the betting. Betting proceeds for a sixth street with the final seventh street being dealt face down. If there is more than one player left after the end of the final betting, those players show their cards. If no more bets occur in the last round, the game defaults to the exposed cards, with the highest value hand taking the pot. Even hands produce a tied game with the winnings being shared between the tied hands.
7-Card Stud Variant
One popular variant of 7-card stud is "7-card stud hi-lo 8 or better." As with Omaha 8, this game produces two winners - one with the highest hand the other with the lowest, with the winner's pot being divided between the two. On occasion, the lucky player can win both hi and lo hands taking the whole pot. As with Omaha 8 the "lo" player cannot hold any hand containing an8-spot or more.