Seven card stud is one of the most popular forms of poker besides Texas Hold'em. Until just a few years ago, it was the most popular form of poker on the U.S. East Coast; even today it is still second behind hold'em. Like in all other forms of poker, players try to make the best five-card poker hand.
Up to eight players can play seven card stud at a time. Seven card stud is almost always limit poker; that is, only fixed amounts can be bet. There are five rounds of betting, and the amount that can be bet is usually one amount in the first two rounds and double that in the next three ($2-$4, $10-$20, etc.)
How to Play
At the beginning of a hand, everyone posts an ante to build a pot. Antes can vary, but are often a quarter or a fifth of a small bet ($.50 in our hypothetical $2-$4 game). All players are given three cards--two face down, and one face up. The player with the lowest face-up card posts a bring-in bet, usually about twice the size of the ante ($1 in this example). Play then proceeds clockwise. Players can elect to not put more money in the pot and fold their hands, call the $1 bring-in, or raise it to a full small bet. If someone does raise it to $2, then all subsequent raises in the first round of betting are by the amount of the small bet--it can be raised to $4, then $6, and so on.
After all betting and raising is finished in the first round of betting, another face-up card is dealt to each remaining player. Bets and raises are again done $2 at a time, unless someone has formed a pair with their two face-up cards. Then, that player is allowed to bet a small bet or a big bet. After this round of betting, there are two more rounds just like it, with another face-up card dealt to each remaining player, except bets and raises must be by the amount of the big bet.
On the last round of betting, each player is given one card face-down. Betting is again done in increments of the big bet. When all betting is done on this last round, each player's card is turned up, and whoever can form the best five-card poker hand with their cards wins the pot.