If one had never played in a public card room previously, the play of a hand could be baffling. Public rooms and casinos follow a set of rules for the play of a hand, even though different rules thrive in home games.
a brief account of what one should expect when one joins a seven card stud game is given below.
a player is required to ‘buy-in’ to the game when he/she first arrives at a table. The chips need to be purchased from the dealer if one doesn’t already have any. For a poker game, there are two possible betting structures.
There is a small amount and a big amount in a structured-limit game – for example, $2 and $4. Specific rules govern when one can bet each amount, as we shall see in later sections.
The house establishes a range of amounts in a spread-limit game – for example, $1 - $5 – and a player can bet or raise in increments of any amount within the range. One must ‘ante’ or pay a small amount to join in if the game one has joined is structured – limit game.
An ante may or may not be required for one to receive cards if it is a spread-limit game. In seven card stud, five rounds of betting take place, and one more card is dealt between each of the players.
Depending on the type of game the betting would vary. Betting would be in set limits, in a structured-limit game; betting could be between two amounts at any point in play of the hand in a spread-limit game.
a player will be dealt three cards at the beginning of a hand. This is the first round of betting, and it also known as the third street. There hole cards: two cards dealt face down, and the door card: one card which is dealt face-up.
On the third street, the player with the lowest door (exposed) card has to begin betting for half the small amount, in most of the structured-limit games.
For example, the holder of the low exposed card has to bet a dollar in a $2/4 game. Although a player could bet the full amount (i.e. Two dollars) if he/she desires.
The play advances around the table to the left of first bettor, from here on. Players could choose to call (match/see the bet), raise or fold.
Raises can only occur in increments of the small amount, while on the third street in a structured-limit game. It is usually, a maximum of increments of the small amount.
Before the pot is ‘capped’, usually a maximum of three raises is permissible, although it is rare that the pot is raised that high on the third street.
In a $2/4 game, a player could raise the pot to two dollars, the following player could raise it to four dollars, and the next player could raise it to six dollars, and so on. No additional raises would be allowed until the next round of betting, at this point.
The suit of the cards ascertains who is forced to bring in the betting when there are two low cards of the same rank (such as two fives) on the board. The suits are ranked in alphabetical order – clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades. Thus, the two of clubs is the smallest possible card.
Therefore, the holder of the two of clubs must begin betting if the two of clubs and the two of diamonds are on the board.
The only round during the play of a hand where the holder of the low card has begun the betting is the third street. The player with the highest poker hand on the board brings in the betting in all the following rounds.
a player receives an additional card face-up, if he/she chooses to stay in this game of poker. The next round of betting is called the fourth street. Unless there is a pair on the board, betting again could occur only in increments of the small amount, when playing in a structured-limit poker game.
So when playing a $2/4 game, the player whose turn it is to bet could either bet two dollars or raise two dollars – but not four.
Nonetheless, a player has the option of betting or raising in increments of the big amount if there is an exposed pair. For example, if a player were to have a pair of fours on the board, as well as what seems to be the highest hand at the table.
The player could bet either two or four dollars. Conversely, if another player has pair and brings it in for two dollars, the first player could now raise $2/4, thereby making the bet four or six dollars to the next player.
If the player chooses to stay in again, he/she receives a fifth card that is dealt face-up. At this point, a player is on the fifth street. In a structured game, a player no longer has the option of betting the small amount. Every bet from this point on has to be in increments of the high amount.
Once more, a high hand on the board brings in the betting, and once more, a maximum of three raises is permissible at most card rooms. Now, while on the fifth street, a $4 bet can be raised to $8, then raised to $12, and finally raised to $16 before being ‘capped’.
Following this, even the sixth card is dealt face-up, and play in this round ( sixth street ) works likewise.
You are now in the final round, which is also referred to as the seventh street, this time the card is dealt face down.
The highest-ranking hand at the sixth street has the option of initiating the bet, since there is no visible change to the hands.
The player on the left is next in line to bet, and so on until every player has opted to either call, raise or fold.
No more cards are dealt, and the rest of the players could choose to turn over their cards to expose their hands or muck (concede) the hand if they believe themselves beaten.
a player should always turn his/her hand, if he/she is still in to call the last bet. Card rooms have a policy that ‘cards speak’, which means that the dealer must see everyone’s hand and proclaim the poker winner.
It is quite possible that a player has a hand that he/she had not noticed and ends up winning the pot!