Stud Poker | Tips On How To Bet And Play Winning Hands
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How to bet/play Stud Poker

The ins and outs of poker – Stud Poker

Stud poker, with different variations, is a poker game where you try to create the best five-card hand out of seven cards. Since the most common game is referred to as seven-card stud, this guide will be based on that one.

Seven-card stud has all the basic poker rules as far as hand rankings go. The playing field is considered even since there are no wild cards, and you are playing each hand straight up. The game is an excellent poker game for anyone that is a fan of poker.

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Understand The Variation

As noted above, seven-card stud has different variations of the game, like Caribbean Stud Poker. You have your original stud, follow the queen, and a few more that have slight differences. Other games may use wild cards or have a select rule change. 

For the original stud, you play through phases. You are dealt two cards face down. Then, you are dealt a card face up for as long as you stay in. 

Every single card that is dealt will provide a round of betting afterward. In some instances, you can have the last card dealt face down, which is a good idea to do if you want to hide your hand further into the last round. 

Playing Stud Poker Live Hands 

Playing a “live” hand means you are trying to put together a hand that can be put together. This means that you should go for hands that have the chance to improve. 

For example: If you are dealt three cards of the same suit, but the table has that same suit multiple times, this is leading into a dead hand. You will eventually run out of opportunities to improve this flush. 

Deciding On What To Play

There are two scenarios of hands you could benefit from in a face-off. Both are good hands to have but have different weights attached to them. The two in focus are big pairs and drawing hands. 

Big pairs will usually do best when played in a short-handed pot. This is because you are against only a few opponents. Having a big pair has a reasonable chance of winning without much improvement.

For drawing hands when you have three flush or a three straight, for example, have no immediate value. You have to build these hands to have a good hand overall, unlike a pair that has immediate value. 

Odds are, you will not complete your flush or straight that often because you need more cards to do so. If you have a drawing hand, you would prefer to have multiple opponents. This way, when you do create your hand, someone will still be in the game for it to pay off.

Reviewing Your Hand

Having a pair is a great start. Generally, you are going to want to have a harder to beat pair than a smaller par. For instance, a pair of eights is a medium-strength pair. 

This could win you some hands, but it still has a good chance of being beat. A pair of fives is of far less value since there are many pair opportunities that will beat it. 

If you have one or more high cards in your hand, that is also a good start. These high cards will hold their value since you are trying to make a high pair combo. The odds are with you when trying to make a high pair, especially when you have multiple high cards. 

Chase The Card in Stud Poker

When creating your hands, you always want to be selective in determining the right hand. You want to be able to know when to fold or to keep going. In a lot of scenarios, you are better off trying to chase the card you need. 

Of course, you need to be aware of “scare” cards. These are cards referred to as cards that could hurt you or benefit you if you are trying to chase a card. 

If your hand turns into junk, then fold. However, you should have plenty of opportunities to find the card you need.

How To Bet/Play Stud Poker FAQ

Can you play seven-card stud online free?
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By doing an easy search online, you can find seven-card stud poker games for free to play. This is a great opportunity to learn the basics of the game and to test out your knowledge. If you have a strategy that you want to work on, this is a great chance to work your theory.

How do you play five-card stud poker?
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By using the same rules as outlined in this guide, you can have a variation of a stud game that has been cut down to only five cards instead of seven. You can try searching online for a free version to see if you like it better than the seven-card version.

How many versions of this game are there?
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The numbers can be potentially endless. Most casinos go by a standard way of playing, so you would need to check to make sure before you put money down. Other variations of the game will have wild cards, dead cards, and even jokers. So, it is important to check before putting any money down.

About this author

Cole Paganelli author profile

Cole is really big into Major League Baseball, but really - the big four Pro US sports are his passion. Cole grew up a Yankees fan, but married a Red Sox fan. It's tough around the house during those big games, but his hatred for the Red Sox has waned a little. Cole has a goal of seeing every Major League Baseball Stadium before the end of 2022!

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