Despite taking a backseat to Texas Hold’em in the last few years, 7 card stud remains one of the more popular poker games in the world. And if you want to be a well-rounded poker dealer, you need to be able to deal all of the various games, including 7 card stud.
In this article, we are going to tell you how to deal 7 card stud poker!
Dealing 7 card stud isn’t any harder than dealing Texas Hold’em, and after reading through TheSportsGeek’s guide to dealing 7 card stud, you are going to have all of the information you need to be able to deal the game proficiently.
With that, let’s jump right into it, by taking a look at how to deal 7 card stud, starting with the shuffle!
How to Deal 7 Card Stud
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Knowing how to shuffle the cards properly is of the utmost importance when it comes to dealing 7 card stud. If the deck isn’t shuffled properly, and the cards aren’t randomized, it will mess with the action.
It could end up giving players an unfair advantage.
The proper way to shuffle a deck of cards when dealing 7 card stud is to start off by washing (also known as scrambling) the cards face down. Some dealers tend to over scramble the cards, but in reality, a quick 4-5 second scramble goes a long way into mixing the cards up well prior to the start of your shuffle.
When you are shuffling, you want to grip the deck loosely, and put very little downward pressure on the cards. If you are pushing down too hard on the cards, they will bend, which causes damage, and potentially marked cards. If I can hear you shuffle, you are pushing too hard!
Once you have given the cards a quick wash, you pick up the cards, making sure that they are facing towards the players, not towards you. This is a security measure that shows the players that you can’t see the cards, which prevents base dealing or setting the deck. After collecting all cards, you square up the deck face down and begin the shuffle procedure.
A professional level shuffle when dealing 7 card stud consists of a split and riffle, an additional split and riffle, a box, where you side shuffle the cards, and then a final split and riffle.
Once this is complete, you square the deck and cut it onto your cut card, making sure that you are cutting at least a third of a deck deep. The cut card is in place so no player can see the bottom card on the deck while you deal.
Unlike Texas Hold’em, there are no blinds in 7 card stud. Instead, every player has to ante prior to the start of each hand. This builds a pot early on that the players then get to fight over later in the hand. The price of the ante will vary from game to game based on the limits, but generally, the ante is 25% of the small bet.
If you are playing a $4-$8 7 card stud game, the ante is typically going to be $1. We already talked about the ante coming prior to the start of the hand, and the perfect time to collect the ante is right after you have finished your shuffle, but before you have cut the cards.
This allows you to see how many players are going to be dealt in during the hand, without the risk of exposing a card during the cut, which could give players additional information. Once all antes are posted, you collect them, cut the cards, and begin to deal.
Dealing 3rd Street
When dealing 7 card stud, you start out by giving all players 2 cards face down, followed by their 3rd card face up. This stage of the game is known as 3rd street in poker slang, as all players have 3 cards. Each subsequent round of cards is known as 4th street, 5th street, 6th street, and finally, 7th street.
Without having a button or blinds to start and force the action, players new to 7 card stud might not know where the betting starts. With any stud-based poker game, the action starts with what is known as a bring-in bet.
Who Brings It In?
If you are playing 7 card stud straight high or 7 card stud high low split, the lowest card, by suit, will bring it in. If you are playing 7 card stud lowball, also known as razz, then the highest card will bring it in.
The hand that brings it in will vary depending on the game type that you are playing. But as a general rule, the bring-in is going to be twice as much as the ante. In our example above, in a $4-$8 game with a $1 ante, the bring in will be $2. After the bring-in bet, the action will start to the left of that player, with each player having the option to call the bet, raise it up, or fold their hand.
The action will continue around the table clockwise until all players have called or folded.
Once all players have acted, you collect all bets and discards and now you are ready for 4th street.
Dealing The Later Rounds
Once all of the bets and discards have been collected, you will then burn a card, to ensure that the top card wasn’t exposed at some point, and then deal a card face up to all remaining players, starting with the player to your direct left.
Just like it did on 3rd street, the action will go around the table clockwise, with players having the option to check, bet, raise, or fold. The only difference between 3rd street and the rest of the betting streets is that after 3rd street, it is no longer the worst hand starting the action, it is now the highest ranking hand starting the action.
If you are playing stud high or stud high low, that is the highest ranking hand. If you are playing razz, it is the lowest ranking hand that starts the betting.
What Happens If You Run Out Of Cards?
Most 7 card stud games are played 8-handed. Some quick math tells us that if all 8 players stay in until the end, you won’t have enough cards in the deck to give everyone their final card. While this happens very rarely, it does happen, and when it comes up, you need to know how to handle it.
Prior to dealing 7th street, you should always count how many cards you have left in the stub, by gently fanning the cards left, being careful to not expose them. If there are enough cards for you to burn and give all players their final card, that is what you will do.
If there aren’t enough cards, you then count the burn cards, to see if adding the burns would be enough to get you through the rest of the hand.
If the burns add enough cards to the hand to complete the deal, you scramble the reaming cards in the stub with the burn cards face down, taking extra care not to expose any cards. You then cut the deck again, burn, and give all players their final card.
99% of the time, adding in the burns will be enough to get you through the hand. But if it’s not, instead of adding the burns in, you just burn a card and turn one card face up, which will act as a community card that plays in all player’s hands.
As the dealer, you are going to follow the exact same procedure on each betting street until 7th street. You burn a card and deal 1 card face up to all active players. The action goes clockwise around the table, with the best hand starting the betting.
If at any point, there is only 1 live hand remaining, the hand is instantly over, and you move on to the next hand. And make sure that as each round’s betting is completed, all discards and bets are collected before the betting starts on the next street.
When you do inevitably get to 7th street, instead of giving all players another card face up, you will deal this final card face down. Once all active players have 7 cards, 4 face up and 3 face down, their hands are complete.
Reading The Hands, Declaring A Winner, And Pushing The Pot
Once all of the cards are dealt and all of the betting is over, it is now time to figure out who wins the pot. If 7th street checks around with no betting, whichever player was first to check is required to show or muck their hand first.
Just like the action on the previous streets, hands are then revealed in clockwise order around the table. If there is a bet on the end, then the player that bet, and was called, must show or muck their hand first. Once the cards are exposed, it is your job as the dealer to read the hands. Obviously, this will differ depending on which variation of 7 card stud is being played. But always keep in mind that despite all players having 7 cards, poker is still only a 5 card game, and the best 5 card poker hand will win the pot.
When reading the hands, you will verbally declare each tabled hand, to ensure that all active players are aware of what has been exposed. As the hands are revealed, any hand that has already been beaten is then quickly placed into the muck pile. You will continue this process until there is only 1 hand remaining.
After most hands, the winning player is going to give you a toke. Tokes are never required, but always appreciated, and you must make sure that you thank players for all tokes, no matter how big they might be.
Gently tap the toke on the dealer box to signal to the table and the eye in the sky that you are taking chips off of the table and place the toke in either your pocket or your toke box.
Wash, Rinse, And Repeat
When it comes to dealing 7 card stud, once you know how to deal 1 hand, you can deal them all. As a poker dealer, the way that you are going to make more money for the house, and more tokes for yourself, is by getting the hands out quickly.
Following this exact same procedure for each and every hand will go a long way toward speeding up the game and making sure that you are getting plenty of hands out. The more time in the box that you get, the quicker you are going to be, but you want to make sure that you aren’t sacrificing game integrity for speed.
As a poker dealer, maintaining the integrity of the game is the most important part of your job. Yes, we all want to get more hands out, but if you are going so fast that you are missing bets, exposing down cards, or making mistakes, you have to slow down. Focus on being quick, but don’t hurry, when dealing 7 card stud!
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If you want to explore a career as a professional poker dealer, the first thing you need to do is take a seat at the table as a player! Thanks for reading and good luck at the 7 card stud table, no matter which side of the table you end up on!
PLACE YOUR BETS NOW!