Stud Poker Online: an Expert Guide

Posted by Chris Spencer on
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Stud poker refers to a category of poker variants in which players are dealt a combination of face-up and face-down cards progressively, interspersed with betting rounds. Unlike some poker games you may be used to, stud is a non-positional game, meaning that the person who bets first may change from round to round based on the strength of their hole cards. The most popular types of online stud poker are Mississippi stud, Caribbean stud, Razz, and 5- & 7-card variants.

Our expert guide to stud poker will cover:

  • Where US players can play stud poker online
  • How to play & rules for the most popular stud poker variants
  • Proven stud poker strategies
  • Online stud poker FAQ

Where to Play Stud Poker Online

Here are the online casinos our team of experts recommend US players use for playing stud poker online:

Types of Stud Poker

There are four main types of stud poker you should be on the lookout for when you are playing at online poker rooms, or at online casinos.

Mississippi Stud

Mississippi Stud

A video poker game in which players play against a paytable

How do you play Mississippi stud poker? In Mississippi Stud poker, each hand starts with an ante. Once a player has anted, they’ll be dealt two face-down hole cards, and three face-down community cards. At this point, each player must choose whether to fold – forfeiting his or her ante – or raising.

If the player raises, the dealer reveals the first of three community cards. There is another fold-or-raise round of betting. If the player remains active, these rounds continue until all three community cards are face-up.

If the player remains active once all community cards have been revealed, they make the best possible five-card poker hand, comprised of the three community cards and the player’s two hole cards. The player’s payout will depend on the game’s paytable, but a typical paytable can be found below.

Mississippi Stud Payout

While payouts may vary from casino-to-casino and game-to-game, here’s a sample Mississippi Stud payable:

Hand Example Payout
Royal Flush royal flush 500:1
Straight Flush straight flush 100:1
Four of a Kind four of a kind 40:1
Full House full house 10:1
Flush flush 6:1
Straight straight 4:1
Three of a Kind cards-three-of-kind 3:1
Two pair cards-two-pair 2:1
Pair of Jacks of Better cards-one-pair 1:1
Pair of 6s – 10s five playing cards - two 8s, a 3, a 9, and a jack Push
All other five playing cards, all different Loss
Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker

Beat the dealer’s hand in this one-on-one table game

In Caribbean Stud poker, players play against the dealer – and the dealer alone – to make the best five-card hand.

Each round of Caribbean Stud begins with the player placing their ante. At some casinos, players also have the option of whether or not to buy in to a progressive jackpot attached to the game.

Once players have placed their ante bets, both they and the dealer will be dealt five cards. All of the player’s five cards will be face down, while one of the dealer’s five will be face up.

At this point, players choose whether to fold – sacrificing their ante – or play, in which case they must raise a fixed amount, typically twice the value of the ante. If the player raises and remains active in the game, both players reveal their cards.

In order for the dealer to qualify, their hand must include at least an ace and a king or a pair or better.

  • If the dealer qualifies, and the player’s hand wins, they receive 1:1 payout on their ante, plus a pre-determined amount on their raise
  • If the dealer qualifies, and the dealer’s hand wins, the dealer keeps all of the player’s wagers
  • If the dealer does not qualify, ante bets are paid 1:1, and the raises push
  • If the dealer qualifies, and they tie the player’s hands, all bets push

Caribbean Stud Payout

Again, if the dealer qualifies and the player’s hand is higher, the player receives two payouts:

  • Ante bets are returned 1:1
  • Raise bets are paid out at a pre-determined value set by the game’s paytable. Be sure to check your game for specifics, but a typical table looks like this:
Hand Example Payout
Royal flush royal flush 100:1
Straight flush straight flush 50:1
Four of a kind four of a kind 20:1
Full house full house 7:1
Flush flush 5:1
Straight straight 4:1
Three of a kind cards-three-of-kind 3:1
Two pair cards-two-pair 2:1
One pair cards-one-pair 1:1
High card five playing cards, all different 1:1
7 Card Stud

7 Card Stud

Build the best five-card hand from three face-down and four face-up cards

Each hand of 7 card stud begins with each player being dealt three cards – two face-down, and one face-up. Initial betting action begins with the player who is showing the lowest-ranking card and proceeds clockwise around the table until all bets are in.

The game then proceeds with each player being dealt individual cards, interspersed with rounds of betting, until each player has been dealt seven cards. Cards four, five, and six are dealt face-up, while the seventh and final card is dealt face-down.

By the time each player has received all of their cards, they should have a total of seven cards – three facedown, and four face-up. At this point, all remaining players reveal their facedown cards, and the best five-card poker hand wins the pot.

5 Card Stud

5 Card Stud

Build the table’s best five-card poker hand

How to Play 5 Card Stud

In five card stud, the player’s goal is to build the best possible five card poker hand using only cards that he or she is dealt. Unlike in similar stud games, there are no shared community cards – rather, just a mix of face-up and face-down hole cards.

The game begins with each player being dealt two cards each – one face-up and one face-down. Typically, 5 card stud is played with a small ante and a bring in, meaning the player with the lowest-value face-up card must place a small wager. From there, betting proceeds clockwise around the table.

For the remainder of the game, players are dealt one face-up card each, followed by a betting round, until each player has five total cards – one face-down, and four face-up. As in other games, these deal & betting rounds are known as third, fourth and fifth street, respectively.

Once each player has been dealt all five cards, all active players reveal their face-down card, and the player with the best poker hand wins the pot.

5 Card Stud Rules

It’s important to note that 5 card stud can be played with a number of variations. Be sure to check your specific casino & table to ensure you understand the specific rules of the game you’re playing.

Here are rules for a typical game of five card stud:

  • The game follows a small ante & bring-in betting structure
  • It is a no limit game, meaning players can place wagers of any size that their bankroll allows. Pot limit, fixed limit, & spread limit games are also available.
  • Games are generally played for high hands, meaning traditional poker hand values determine ranking. However, games can be played for low hands, in which the player’s goal is to secure the hand with the lowest

Stud Poker Strategy

Below are some proven basic strategies for each stud poker variant. As always, with all games, our main strategy recommendation is to set a bankroll strategy, and stick to it.

The best thing you can do, both for your winning record and your enjoyment, is to ensure you’re playing with the right amount of money. Don’t chase losses, don’t bet emotionally, and never bet more than you can afford to lose

5 Card Stud Strategy

  • Consider folding if opponents’ up card beat both your up and face down cards.
  • Don’t chase straights and flushes.
  • Having an ace in the hole is the best possible (including pairs).

7 Card Stud Strategy

  • Be selective about your starting hand – if you don’t like your hand, and you can get out for free, fold.
  • If you believe you have a strong hand, bet strong on third betting round and smart on fourth and fifth.
  • If your hole cards include an Ace or King, play on. If you have a pair in the hole, bet aggressively.

Mississippi Stud Strategy

  • Avoid 2x ante bets- either fold, wager 1x or 3x the ante.
  • If you have a face card, raise 1x the ante.

Caribbean Stud Strategy

  • If you start with a pair or better, call or raise depending on what the dealer is showing.
  • If you don’t have a pair and at least one face card, fold the hand.

Stud Poker FAQs

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