Stud Poker: A Guide To Playing Real-Money Games Online

Stud is a popular version of poker which is enjoying a resurgence online. It can be played in 5 or 7-card varieties, with 7-card Stud forming the 'S' part of a round of HORSE.

Stud plays differently to Texas Hold'em in that each player has their own up and down cards with which they have to make the best five-card poker hand. Betting is usually Limit which can also be confusing to Aussie players used to No Limit Texas Hold'em.

Stud is available at most of the bigger online poker rooms, and players can try their skills out for free at the play-money tables before committing a bankroll. You can enjoy real stud poker in 2024 with .

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How To Play 7-Card Stud

Let's take the most popular form of Stud you'll find online: 7-card Stud. In Stud cash games and tournaments, betting is usually Limit. This means that there will be one raise limit for the first two betting rounds and another determined limit for the final three rounds.

For example, in a 7-card Stud cash games played at $2/4, the first two rounds will have maximum raises of $2, with the final round of betting having raises fixed at $4 max.

After the Ante:

At the beginning of a hand, each player pays an ante, a fixed bet to get the action going. Once the antes are paid in, each player is dealt two cards face down and one face up. The lowest 'up' card 'brings in' the action and starts the betting.

Fourth Street-Sixth Street:

After a round of betting, each player receives a fourth card apiece, also dealt face up. Betting continues in this way, until a final, seventh card is dealt to each player face down.

Seventh Street:

After the final down card, a round of betting takes place, and the remaining players show down to decide who scoops the pot. The highest poker hand wins.

In 5-Card Stud, players receive just one card face down and one up card. Play continues, with two further up-cards and one down card completing a five-card hand. As in 7-card Stud, betting is done Limit.

Starting Hand Selection In Stud

As in Hold'em, even a basic grasp of starting hands is essential if you don't want to go bust. The aim is to have the highest poker hand, so look for strong pairs in your hand or trips. You also want to disguise your strong cards, so having pairs or A-K/A-Q concealed in your down cards is great. Look to make flushes and flush draws too, or have up-cards that you can bluff with later on.

Good 7-Card Stud Starting Hands:

  • A-A) A
  • K-K) K
  • Q-Q) Q
  • J-J) A
  • 9-9) 9
  • 8-8) 8
  • 7-7) 7
  • K-Q) J suited
  • A-K) Q suited
  • A-K) A
  • A-Q) A
  • K-Q) K
  • K-J) K

Top Stud Tips: Watching Your Opponents

If you're coming to Stud from Texas Hold'em you'd be excused for thinking two-pair is a fairly decent hand. However, in Stud two-pair is a pretty average winning hand. You need to be improving on two-pair where possible.

The beauty of Stud is that you have so much information laid out in front of you. In a 6-handed Stud game you might see 48 cards coming out, many of which are visible. It's important to work out what's come out, and what your possible "outs" are to help improve your hand. There's no point trying to bluff a heart flush draw if all your hearts are in other players' up-cards, for example. And if another player is showing (x)(x) A-A-A and you only have (8)(8)8-A-6, your trip eights aren't looking too healthy.

Be Ready To Steal Pots

While everyone at the table has lots of information in front of them, Stud is a game of stealing. There are no 'blinds' to direct the betting, as in Hold'em. In Stud the lowest up-card starts off the betting, and if you find yourself in late position with a high up-card it can be a good opportunity to throw a raise in and steal the pots. A visible ace or king conveys strength straight from the off.

How To Find Stud Games Online

Stud is only available at some unregulated US poker sites or the major European-based rooms. So, if you want to take advantage, you'll have to do some digging around. Find online Stud games, however, and you'll discover some great play-money tables where you can learn the rules and cheap cash games to hone your skills.

Some of the bigger sites will run Stud tournaments that carry a small guaranteed prizepool too. Finding players is always a tricky prospect and you may find those Stud cash games take a while to fill up. However, if you can find some fishy players who are trying out Stud out of curiosity, there's money to be had.

Remember, if you fancy taking a shot live, the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas runs several Stud tournaments each summer. Buy-ins range from $1,500 to $10,000, so every budget is catered for. Even the annual Aussie Millions Poker Championship features a $2,500 8-Game Mix event which includes a 7-Card Stud round.

7-Card Stud FAQ

What Is Seven-Card Stud?

7-card Stud is a variant of poker where players have to make the best five-card hand from seven available. Two cards are dealt face down and one face up, with rounds of betting following in between further cards. A final down-card finishes off a player's hand.

How Is It Different?

7-Card Stud is different to Texas Hold'em because each player has their own cards - there are no 'community' cards to share with other players. The game is also almost exclusively played Limit and never No Limit.

Is It Popular Online?

It's not as popular as Texas Hold'em and you won't find it at every poker site, even some major rooms. However, at low stakes you'll find a good range of cash games running on the bigger Aussie-facing online websites.

Where Can I Find Games?

Most of the more popular poker sites have Stud cash games running all week. Stud tournaments are generally reserved for major online festivals and it's uncommon to find Sit n' Gos.

How Much Can Be Won?

Because of the Limit betting structure, pots in cash game Stud rarely get too high unless being played at the very high stakes. At big sites offering Stud, you'll find stakes as low as $0.04/$0.08 with an average pot of $0.60. At the high stakes, $100/$200, average pots of $1,000-$1,700 are common. Finding opponents may be trickier, however.

How Does It Compare To Other Poker Games?

In structure, Stud is similar to Razz, but the high hand wins the pot. 5-Card Stud is a similar variant with just five cards per player. In terms of strategy, 7-Card Stud plays more on reading your opponents and bluffing about what your made hand is. 7-Card Stud can also be played Hi-Lo, where the pot is split between the best high hand and the best qualifying low hand.

Can I Play On A Mobile Device?

Yes. Most mobile poker sites offer Seven Card Stud games for real money, for iPhone, iPad and Android players in Australia.