7 Card Stud vs. Hold’em – Differences & Similarities
Today, Texas Hold’em is by far the most popular poker variation out there. But this wasn’t always the case. In fact, before Hold’em took its place on the throne, 7 card stud was the most played game variant by far.
In this article, we’ll examine the main differences and similarities between these two and try to figure out why Hold’em managed to garner such huge popularity and overshadow seven card stud.
Today, if you want to play online poker like a pro, you’ll pretty much have to learn how to play Hold’em well.
Of course, there are many different factors at play, and we won’t be able to address all of them here. We’ll focus primarily on the rules and structures of both games, leaving outside factors (such as the fact that Hold’em is better suited for TV) aside.
Limit vs. No Limit – What Game Provides More Action?
One of the main reasons No Limit Texas Hold’em became such a big hit with the players is in the name of the game. The “no limit” betting structure means that players can bet any amount they wish at any point in a hand.
This makes the game very exciting and adrenaline-filled, as it offers plenty of bluffing opportunities and constantly puts you in tough spots.
On the other hand, seven card stud is usually played in the limit format. The betting structure is fixed, and players don’t have any say in sizing their bets. So, big bluffs are virtually non-existent, and there are very few truly difficult spots.
Hold’em is the game of community cards. You and your opponents receive two hole cards that are only known to you. However, you then need to combine those two with five community cards that are seen and shared by all the players involved in a hand.
In a seven card stud, you receive a total of seven cards – three cards face down and four face up (provided you stick around to the end of the hand). But, you can only use cards in your hand, i.e., there is no community cards aspect.
So, both games share some similarities here, as you get to see some cards and gather some information. It is important to constantly keep track of these cards and figure out how they help your opponents to make the best decisions.
However, keeping track of shown and folded cards is of the utmost importance in seven card stud, as knowing certain cards are out of play can give you a decisive edge over less experienced opponents.
Psychological Aspects of Seven Card Stud & Texas Hold’em
All forms of poker represent a mental battle between the players to some extent. However, when comparing seven card stud to Hold’em, the latter is much more intense.
Because stud is usually played as a fixed limit, the psychological aspect of the game isn’t nearly as pronounced.
While you can take advantage of some reads and players’ tendencies, your decisions will be mostly based on the information you have about the cards.
You’ll combine this knowledge with some basic calculations to figure out when to bet, call, or fold.
The no-limit structure of Texas Hold’em leads to many difficult spots where knowing your “customer” will be crucial to determining what to do. Constantly adjusting to other players and table dynamics is one of the most critical skills you’ll need to succeed.
Which Game Is Easier to Learn?
You may have heard that “Hold’em takes five minutes to learn and a lifetime to master.” As strange as it may sound, this saying is actually true.
Because there are so many different layers, you can never say that you learned everything there is to learn about the game.
And in recent years, the development of new technologies has taken things to a whole new level, creating a whole new school of poker players.
Seven card stud isn't as complex as it is the game of complete information and more straightforward decisions.
So, if you apply yourself, you’ll become a solid stud player much quicker and will be able to hold your own even against tough competition.
This leads us to the answer to the question we asked at the start of this article.
Texas Hold’em became so popular exactly because it’s such a rich and complex game. There is always something new to learn, and good players have countless ways to make money in the game.
At the same time, due to the luck factor, it is also possible for a complete amateur to run hot in some crucial spots and win a big tournament like the WSOP Main Event.
There is no doubt that Hold’em is one of the most exciting poker variations in existence, and seven card stud can’t compete with it in that regard.
However, stud still has its own charm and appeal, and you can still find it both online and in live poker rooms worldwide. It may not be as popular as it once was, but it’s not going anywhere any time soon, either.