History of Seven Card Stud

What does Seven Card Stud Mean?

It’s a popular variant and, for many years, it was the version of poker that most players participated in. Seven Card Stud has a long history and, while its rival Texas Hold’Em may be more widely played in the present day, the 7-card variant retains a loyal following.

In this guide we will find out when seven card stud was invented and how it developed. The name comes from the fact that seven cards are dealt to each player during a round of betting. That’s the easy part but what else do we know about this classic game?

Brief History of Seven Card Stud

So, when was seven card stud invented? Poker is said to have originated in America in the 1830s when it became prevalent on tourist boats, predominantly on the Mississippi. In those days, local card players would typically take on tourists who didn’t have such a great understanding of the game. The prize on the table would be the ‘poke’ which was a colloquial term for money.

Although this is disputed in some areas, it’s said that the ‘poke’ led directly to the game being given the name poker. These practises continued but, elsewhere, card games started to be played on a more fair and level playing field.

Many of these early forms also died out but the history of seven card stud seems to have taken off from this point.

Stud poker as a whole was played extensively during the American Civil War and, in later years, throughout the US Navy. As gaming dens and authorised casinos appeared, 7 Card Stud became the most popular poker version and it wasn’t until the 1980s that Texas Hold’Em began to take over.

Seven Card Stud in Streetcar Named Desire

When we look at the history of Seven Card Stud, we find that it has appeared in a number of TV shows and Hollywood movies. In keeping with the changing times, more recent films tend to include Texas Hold’Em while older releases showcase 7 Card Stud which would have been more popular at the time.

The best example of this is seven card stud and streetcar named desire. The play, written by Tennessee Williams, first appeared on Broadway in 1947. The action begins with central character Blanche DuBois travelling from her small town to live with her sister Stella and husband Stanley in bustling New Orleans.

Poker appears intermittently throughout the play and Seven Card Stud is the version of choice. It may seem incidental to the plot but it also helps to introduce us to pivotal characters in Streetcar Named Desire, including Mitch who becomes Blanche’s love interest.

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, 1951

Blanche is also marginalised at times in the play but she’s involved in early scenes as the direct opponent to Stanley while Stella takes the part of the dealer. This could be intended as another analogy on behalf of the author.

At the very end of Streetcar Named Desire, the play closes with the line ‘this is seven card stud’.

Aside from this instance, this version of poker is largely absent from the film and TV screens. However, there is a movie released in 2015 known simply as Seven Card Stud. It didn’t make a big splash at the box office and that’s probably why you may not be familiar with it.

Central character Drew returns home from work, ready for his game night. However, his wife has left the computer running and he reads an email hinting at an extra marital affair. Intriguingly, the co-respondent is one of his poker playing mates.

Famous Players of 7 Card Stud

The official poker Hall of Fame includes some of the best players of 7 card stud. Among them is the notorious Wild Bill Hickok who included the term ‘professional gambler’ on his rather varied CV. Hickok met his end at the poker table and his hand of two aces and two eights is still referred to as the Dead Man’s Hand.

Wild Bill Hickok
Wild Bill Hickok

Hickok’s exact qualities at the poker table may be disputed but one man whose prowess isn’t in doubt is Red Hodges. He’s also in the Hall of Fame and many recognise him as the greatest player of Seven Card Stud of all time. Hodges was inducted into that Hall of Fame in 1985 while more recent players on the circuit include Roger Moore, Danny Robinson and David Hayden.

If you speak to current players and read the forums, those three names keep cropping up as some of the best in the history of Seven Card Stud.

Closing Thoughts

In other guides we’ve looked at the rules of the game and we’ve answered the question relating to the seven card stud meaning in greater detail. We’ve also seen how the game originated and how it developed, predominantly among various sectors of the US military.

Elsewhere, Seven Card Stud also features in popular culture, even though this may not be as widespread as with Texas Hold’Em. Those who have seen Streetcar Named Desire may not even have been aware of the fact that it takes such a central role in the overall plot.

It may not be the most popular format in the modern day but seven card stud has a very important role in the history of poker. It continues to have a loyal following and that will develop as long as online casinos keep including it and promoting it.