How to Play Stud Poker

How to Play Stud Poker

Stud poker was around long before Texas Hold ‘Em, holding a reputation for a fast-paced and fun to play strategy card game played with anywhere from two to eight players. Though it has similar roots to Hold ‘Em and Omaha, there are a few differences like the last ‘flop’ round and also the lack of community cards. If you have wondered how to play or are just looking to brush up on your skills, we have put together the rules to play along with a few tips to enhancing your strategy for 7 card Stud poker.

Stud Poker Rules

Stud Poker Rules

The first thing that will happen is dealing of cards also known as the ante. Here, the amount put in goes directly into the pot. Just like other games of its kind, betting will begin in a clockwise direction, starting with the players nearest to the dealer. Two of the cards are hidden and one is dealt for all to see. From here, the lowest cards will go first, starting the betting rounds.

Round 1

All players will have a shot to put their two cents in, choosing whether to go along with the crowd and match the last raise or up the ante. If they don’t think they have a hand large enough that can stand up amongst the rest, they can fold.

Round 2

Once everyone has had their chance to decide their next move, another round of dealing will begin. Again, these cards will all be face-up, allowing the player with the highest value to begin. Just like before, everyone around the table can choose to call, raise, or fold.

Round 3

Just like before, a face-up card is dealt, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. The person that has the highest values begins, choosing whether to increase the total of the pot or get out of the game.

Round 4

Exactly the same as round 3. Betting sizes are based on the big betting limit, and the round starts and ends just like the one before.

Round 5 (Final)

This round uses the big betting limit as well. Unlike the previous rounds, cards are dealt face-down. Again, betting will go on between the remaining players at the table in a clockwise direction until all have gone.


Here is where the final attempt to knock out the competitors comes in. Those that are still in play will have the chance to make a 5-card combination, one that they think will knock out the others. Hands are compared with the highest value set winning. In the event there is no complete hand, the player with the highest single value card will take the pot and will be crowned the winner.

Stud Poker Strategy

Stud Poker Strategy

It is impossible to be an expert player your first few times playing. For this reason, there are a few tips and strategies that can be practiced to keep you from making costly mistakes.

Make Folding your Friend

Don’t be afraid to fold. Some newbies think that it looks weak or bad when they choose to fold, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. One good rule of thumb is to go with the flow of the table; then, toward the last few rounds, check out your cards and see whether you think you have what it takes to go against the last remaining few.

Practice a Little Aggression

The most important factor is the Stud poker hands. The better you think your cards are, the more aggressive you should play. Do keep in mind that you may want to tone down your aggression as a bluff at some moments, then choosing to up your moves and bets as more players drop out.

Keep a Close Eye on your Opponents

Last but not least, you will want to keep an eye on your opponents, trying to get any sign of whether or not they may be using a bluffing strategy. Also, see if they get nervous when bets are raised or if they seem to get more excited. Note their faces as each new card is dealt. It is a skill that refines with time and can be very useful when going head to head with more experienced players.

Go for It!

At the end of the day, there are no strategies that work 100% of the time. While practice does make you a more aware and better player overall, it still doesn’t make you perfect. Poker games rely mostly on luck, and Stud Poker is no different. Still, taking the time to watch your opponents and analyze the cards around the table can give you a better clue on what your next moves and bets should be.

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