How to Play Stud Poker

Are you a poker fan who wants to try something unique or a novice who wants to learn about all different poker types? Well, the term “poker” actually encompasses a large selection of card games with similar rules. In these games, players need to utilize strategy and skill to beat their opponents. That’s how you can win money on your bets.

Nowadays, you can try various poker games in land-based casinos or online gambling sites, and if you’re wondering about the different poker variants, it’s smartest to look them up and learn the rules before you spend any real funds. That way, you’ll get the high ground, and your bets will pay off.

Stud poker is among the most unique variants, and it’s not a challenging game, but it can baffle some players. So read this guide to find out how to play stud poker!

Stud Poker 101

Firstly, stud poker revolves around the traditional poker system. The card hand hierarchy is identical as in standard poker. This variant became popular way back during the Revolutionary and Civil War eras. But there are a few subtle rules and game play changes compared to standard poker that make it stand out.

In stud games, you can get five or seven cards determined by the variant. The stud games get their name from the number of playing cards. The most common are 7-card and 5-card stud games, but some casinos will offer 3-card stud or other similar variants like Stud Hi/Lo or Razz. Some may confuse it with draw poker, but it’s crucial to point out that stud is a different game.

For now, let’s turn towards the five and seven card options. Generally, the victor of any stud game is the player who gets the best five-card combination. In case two or more people happen to get the same combination (e.g., straight or flush), the one who collects the winnings is the player who has the highest ranking cards.

Key Rules

In stud games, blinds or community cards do not exist. When you join a table, you’ll have to make an ante bet, and the same goes for all subsequent players. Usually, two to eight people play the game.

The ante bet ensures that you will remain at the poker table, and it means that the pot will always have some payouts. When players put up the ante bet, they need to make an equal wager before they get their cards, and then, the game will start. However, the rules will vary a bit depending on if you’re playing the 5-card or 7-stud games.

Five Card Stud

To start, two cards are dealt — one that is face-up and one that is face-down. After that, there’s a “bring in” followed by the betting rounds. The “bring in” is a type of wager which has to be paid by the player who gets the lowest value of the face-up card. Following this, the action will commence.

High ranking card

The players will receive another face-up card. When they get new cards, this stage is often called “street,” and the cards will always be facing up. For example, when you get a fourth card, it is called “fourth street,” and the “fifth street” is used for the fifth card. After the street, there is always a betting round.

The game goes on until the players have five cards, but the first card will always remain face-down. After the fifth card, players will need to make one last bet. After that, the remaining players have to reveal all their cards, and the highest card combination wins the pot.

Additional Rules

Stud is generally a limit game, meaning that the bets will be limited during each street. Namely, it could start in small units for the initial two streets; for example, $3. Then, it could double for the upcoming cards; for instance, $6. Initially, after the “bring in,” the highest hand will kick off the subsequent streets. That’s how you’ll know who will be the first to play.

Additionally, due to the fact that you can see up to four cards of all other players, it’s simple to estimate the hand strength of your opponents. That way, the game differs from variants like Texas Hold’em. To balance that out and introduce some uncertainty, casinos might add specific elements like a stripped deck, twist rounds, a higher amount of hole cards or even high-low splits.

Moreover, standard poker hand rankings are used from highest to lowest: Royal Flush, Straight Flush, 4-of-a-Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, 3-of-a-Kind, Two Pairs, One Pair, High Card. And the suits ranking goes from highest to lowest as such: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs. As mentioned, the suit will determine who has a higher hand if there is a tie.

Seven Card Stud

The rules in this variant are similar to the previous, but you will get seven cards instead of five. However, the winner is still determined by the five-card hand. The game will start off with the ante and the “third street.” The players will get one card facing up and two hole cards facing down, and the “bring in” will be the same like in 5-card stud, as well as the order of players who start the rounds (the ones with the highest exposed cards).

However, since players get seven cards in this game, the game will go on for the “sixth street” and “seventh street,” which is sometimes called the “river.” The rules regarding the streets and the betting rounds are the same; however, during the seventh round, the player is dealt a face-down card. In case more than one player remains, the game enters the “showdown” stage.

In this stage, the last player who wagers is the one who has to reveal their cards first. But in case no one places a bet, the player in the first seat has to expose their hand first. Then, the “showdown” continues as the cards get exposed in a clockwise direction. What’s more, the rules for winning are the same as in 5-stud poker, but 7-stud adds two more rounds of action.

Betting Rules and Tips

Just like in other poker variants, you can use the following actions: raise, call, check, bet, and fold. The options depend on previous moves by other players and the gameplay.

It’s advisable to have a clever strategy and to know the card hierarchy and aim for high hands. Additionally, stud games will often have wild cards that can swap out any regular card in a winning combination.

Time to Win!

Now that we’ve shown you the fundamental rules and additional tips for stud poker, you should test your skills for real! It’s a highly thrilling game, and most variants will not require you to make big bets. You can start with a small wager and get lucky quickly. Take a look at some online stud offers or visit a land-based establishment and good luck!

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