7 Card Stud Strategy

The Basics
Preparing To Play
How To Play
Betting Rules
Hand Rankings
Strategy Guide
Key Points
7 Card Stud - Hi
7 Card Stud Hi - Low

Tips & Tricks

Strategy Elements
Win Percentage
Hand Value
Counting Cards
Using Position
Strategy Notes



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In seven card stud, you are dealt up to seven cards over five betting rounds. The best five cards of the seven makes up a hand.  Listed below is what each type of hand is called based on what it consists of,  which hands are better than other hands and how the suits of cards are ranked from highest to lowest. 


Hand Ranking and Beat Examples

Listed in order of the best possible hand to the lowest hand.

1. Straight flush- Five connected/consecutive cards, all of the same single suit.  87654 of clubs would be an example of a straight flush. AKQJT of diamonds would be a royal (straight) flush, which is the highest possible hand in any poker game. 

2. Four-of-a-Kind- (Quads)- Four of one card number in a single hand. 7777 would be an example of four-of-a-kind. A seven card hand of 7777222 has gone beyond a full house and is read as; four-sevens with a 2 kicker.

 3. Full House- (Boat)- A full house consists of a combination of three-of-a-kind plus one pair. QQQ44 would be an example of a full house. It would also be called 'queens full of fours'. If it were up against another full house which can (and does!) occur, such as; 999KK (nines full of kings), the winning hand is determined by the highest three cards of one kind between the hands. In this case, three queens beats three nines.

 4. Flush- Any five cards in a hand of the same suit. J9423 all of hearts would be an example of a flush. The flush in this example would be called a 'Jack-high' flush. If it were up against another flush which also occurs, such as A9865 of spades (an 'Ace-high' flush), the winning hand is determined by the highest card in the flush hand, not the highest of the seven cards in your hand. If another flush were playing, for example AKQ52, the winning hand between the 'ace-high' flushes would be determined by the next highest card in both hands. AKQ98 all of diamonds (king kicker) would beat A9865 all of clubs (nine kicker). Suits do not have a hierarchy and are considered equal.

 5. Straight- Five connected/consecutive off-suit cards (cards of any suit). QJT98 off-suit would qualify as a queen-high straight. An A2345 (wheel/bicycle) straight against this hand would qualify as a 'five-high' straight. The ace in this hand qualifies the hand as the lowest possible straight with 2 being the next card to make the straight connect. AKQJT would be the highest off-suit straight possible, where the ace plays high. The king in this hand is the next connector to make the straight.

 6. Three-of-a-Kind- Three of one card number in a single hand without another pair. 555 would be an example of three-of-a-kind. In the event that the three-of-a-kind couples with another pair in your hand it qualifies as a full house. (see full house) If the entire 7 card hand was A955543, you see that there is no second pair to couple with the three-of-a-kind to boost the hand. (see terminology for 'set' and 'trips'). Aces qualify as a high-card kicker.

 7. Two Pair- A pair of one type of card, coupled with another pair of  cards in the hand. AAKK would be an example of the highest two-pair hand possible. If this hand were up against another two-pair hand such as; KKJJ, the winning hand is determined by the hand containing the highest single pair of the two players. The AAKK hand in this case would be the winning hand, aces being high. If your 7 card hand looked like this: 443322A this does not qualify as "three pair", as only the best 5 cards will qualify any type of hand. The hand would be read as two pair, fours and threes (Ace qualifies as a high kicker). This hand also does not qualify as a straight since 5 consecutive cards are necessary to make a straight. Two-pair is probably the most commonly won type of hand in low-stakes limit stud-hi at a full table.

 8. One Pair- A pair of cards not coupled with another pair in your hand. 99 would be an example of a pair in a seven card hand of 9987643. This hand does not qualify as a straight since 5 consecutive cards are necessary to make a straight. (5 or T would make this hand a straight). In a one-pair hand the ace always qualifies as a high-card kicker.

 9. High Card- The highest single card in a hand of seven cards containing no two of the same numbered cards against another hand. For example, AT96532 would rank this hand as an ace high. Against a hand of KJ87643, the ace-high hand would be the winning hand. If the king-high hand were up against KQT8542, the queen in this hand being the highest next card would beat the KJ87643. The winning hand would be read as; king high, high kicker.

Suit Ranking and Bring-In Examples

Rank of the suits in play at the bring-in.

The one and only instance in poker where the suits have rank is the 'bring-in' bet in a seven card stud game.

At this table the dealer has a total of four players who have selected to sit at seats 1,4,5, and 8.  After the cards are shuffled and cut, the top card is 'burned' by the dealer. The players ante, and the starting hand is dealt. The player with the lowest up-facing card has first position and must place the first minimum bet called the 'bring-in'.

Here, player 5 and player 8 both have up-cards showing the number 2. To determine which player has first position, the suits have rank, and the lowest ranking suited card showing a number 2 must place the bring-in bet.

The highest suit is spades, followed by hearts, diamonds, and then clubs. At this table, player 5 must place the bring-in bet since the suit of his card is ranked the lowest of both of the lowest up-facing cards.

Hand Odds

These odds are based on the probability of how many ways a specific hand can be dealt with seven cards from a 52 card deck. These are not the odds of you catching these hands! The higher the number, the more often these particular types of hands will show up at a table, so that you have an idea of what kind of combinations you are striving to beat. The odds to change depending on how many players are at a table, and what type of stud game is being played. More information is available about these odds here.

Hand 7 cards
Straight Flush 41,584
Four of a Kind 224,848
Full House 3,473,184
Flush 4,047,644
Straight 6,180,020
Three of a Kind 6,461,620
Two Pair 31,433,400
One Pair 58,627,800
High Card 23,294,460

Draw one card with  


Four cards to a flush   1 in 4.5
Double open-ended straight   1 in 5
Open-ended straight (1 end)   1 in 11
Inside Straight   1 in 11
Double open-ended straight flush   1 in 23
Open-ended straight flush (1 end)   1 in 46
Inside Straight Flush   1 in 46
Rolled up with 3-of-a-kind   40% chance of improvement to a full house by the river.

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