How to Win Money Playing 7 Card Stud

Closeup of a Dealt 7 Card Stud Table

Seven-card stud is one of the most popular games among poker players. Yet, many fringe poker enthusiasts focus primarily on Texas Hold’Em.

It’s reasonably straightforward to see why Texas Hold’Em is such a hit. The massive exposure Hold’Em gets on television and the marketing department for the poker industry has thrust Hold’Em into the spotlight.

I love Texas Hold’Em more than any form of poker, but many poker fans are missing out on great games like Omaha and 7 card stud. I will point out some of the differences and similarities between Texas Hold’Em and stud.

Then I’ll tell you how to win money playing 7 card stud. Poker is challenging to turn a profit in, but almost anyone can do it.

Not a little brother to Texas Hold’Em

I don’t want any of you to get the impression that 7 card stud is somehow a little brother to Texas Hold’Em. The game is entirely its own entity with the same ties that bind all poker variants.

Nor is 7 card stud one of the poker derivatives that dot the casino floor. Those are house-backed games where players battle the house edge instead of the other players.

In 7 card stud, all players receive seven cards, as the name implies. There are no community cards, which changes the entire dynamic of the game for Hold’Em players.

From the first hand, stud players either love the game or can’t wait to find another table. If you are patient enough to understand the game before calling it quits, there’s an excellent opportunity for profits.

How 7 Card Stud Plays Differently

All stud games will have apparent differences from the Texas Hold’Em games that you’re accustomed to playing. Here are a few of the noticeable differences you may pick up on playing 7 card stud:

  • Players are dealt seven cards as opposed to only two.
  • The table doesn’t share any community cards.
  • Players have five rounds of betting.
  • There’s more information to decipher because more cards are exposed.
  • Having a less aggressive style is beneficial.
  • It’s more challenging to profit from 7 card stud.
  • Any player could have any hand at any time.
  • The order shifts as the hands progress.

One major thing that leaps out to me is the number of betting rounds and how the betting order changes throughout a hand. It would be best if you were well-schooled on the flow before you ever start playing 7 card stud for real money.

I’ve watched better poker players than me sit down to a 7 card stud table and let the fish steal half their bankroll before they got wise to the situation.

Royal Flush

Betting Strategies Differ from Other Poker Variants

I mentioned above that a less aggressive approach would benefit 7 card stud players. That may be a hard pill to swallow for advantage poker players who have spent years crafting a bold betting style.

You will immediately feel the rewards you’ll gain from forcing yourself to play tighter. You’ll want to play tighter for two reasons.

First, there’s less available information about each player’s hand. You have more to dissect because all players have four cards showing, but each has three hole cards. That leaves more of an unknown factor when putting opponents on a hand.

Secondly, there are more betting rounds, and the nature of a hand can quickly change when you’re not dealing with community cards. For example, a player that’s dealt Aces late doesn’t need to worry about an opponent having an Ace.

Those cards are all theirs, and you can’t score tips on what they have. That makes playing strong early in the hand borderline reckless.

You Can’t “Go All Cowboy” and Win in 7 Card Stud

For the reasons I mentioned above, going into a hand with guns blazing is a disaster waiting to happen. You’re going to be adding more money to the pot than you should, which will hurt you more often than not.

But the game itself is designed to curb this type of cowboy behavior. If Texas Hold’Em is checkers, 7 card stud is chess.

Each round of betting comes with an ante; these antes are usually 10% of the small bet. It’s not much, but players that are constantly anteing up with nothing will bleed money unnecessarily.

In casino games, players then have a bring-in bet. This wager is half of the small bet and goes to the player with the lowest card face up.

The action then kicks off with the player to the immediate left of the bring-in having the option to fold, call, or raise. Since these games are limit games, there’s no donkey pushing all-in at their first opportunity.

Pile of Poker Cards, Group of Friends Gathered Around Computer

But you know it’s killing them inside not to have the ability.

If your biggest concern at the poker table is pushing all-in and stealing blinds until you’re eventually knocked out, 7 card stud isn’t the best game.

Yet, players that appreciate the slow draw of strategy and sound poker principles will understand the nature of 7 card stud.

You Won’t Win Many Pots with A/K

One of the most critical decisions facing 7 card stud players is when to fold. Winning here will take patience, but that doesn’t mean staying in hands past your exit.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve missed my exit, got a promising card on the next round, and stayed in the pot until it was over. That type of play may not hurt much in Hold’Em, but it can decimate a bankroll in stud games.

The optimal time to break away from a hand is on the third street. If your hand isn’t showing real promise by then, you should cut your losses.

The biggest reason for getting out early is that you won’t win many hands with a pair. Hold’Em players will ride A/K to the river in hopes of pairing in a weak game, but that won’t fly in 7 card stud.

You’ll need big hands to take most of the pots. That requires a fundamental change regarding how you think about starting hands.

Your goal will be to go for the big straights and nut flushes when playing 7 card stud. A pair of tens won’t be a consistent money maker in stud.

Pay Attention to the Following Starting Hand Guidelines

Let me backtrack; a pair of tens is a beautiful starting hand in stud. But you’re going to need some help if you ever hope to win the hand.

Big pairs are a great starting hand. However, be prepared to fold if you don’t make an improvement.

One of the best starting hands is three of a kind. Three of a kind gives you a ton to build on and, in some cases, may be enough on its own to snag the pot.

Royal Flush

Having a draw is a favorite of savvy 7 card stud players. Having suited cards or three connectors is ideal for the game.

Again, you’ll need to know when to eliminate your losses. But you’ll be surprised how often these hands develop into something useful.

Find Games Where You Can Win

It doesn’t matter how much 7 card stud experience you have or how long you’ve been playing the game. If you can’t find games where you can win, you’ll consistently lose money.

The number one key to winning in poker is playing less-skilled opponents. The better you are at 7 card stud, the easier this becomes.

Still, most players in a casino stud game know what they’re doing. That means you need to pick your spots more carefully.

On busy nights, casino poker rooms are full of tourists in town for the weekend and looking to make some cash in the poker room. That creates a shortage of available seats at the more popular Texas Hold’Em tables.

Many players don’t want to waste a single moment of their mini-vacation and will play any game where they can find a seat. That’s a massive opportunity for 7 card stud players to pick them apart while they’re waiting for their name to be called.

Be creative in your approach, and never stop looking for ways to get into games where you’ve got the upper hand.

Practice Never Makes Perfect, but It’s a Tremendous Help

You cannot consistently win money in the casino without regular practice. Veteran players can benefit from practice sessions the same as rookies.

Set time aside each week to practice playing 7 card stud. There are more than adequate options online and mobile apps to keep you entertained for hours.

Poker Pocket Aces

I prefer to practice live. That means getting a group of friends together and playing a predetermined number of hands.

After each hand, we break down the results and our decisions. This type of practice is terrific because it forces you to look at why you’re making decisions and get valuable feedback in real-time.

Our Final Thoughts

There’s no shortcut for how to win money playing 7 card stud. You’re going to need to put in a lot of hard work and dedicate yourself to learning the aspects of the game that other players overlook.