Stud Poker is one of the most popular poker games. There are different variants of Stud Poker. Seven Card Stud is the most popular. In fact, Seven Card Stud Poker was the most popular poker game in card rooms, before Texas Hold'em Poker took over. Nonetheless, you can still find plenty of online casinos that offer this exciting and interesting version of poker.
Unlike Texas Hold'em Poker or Omaha Poker, Stud Poker is played with a deck of 52 cards and has five rounds of betting. Each card dealt in Stud Poker is referred to as street, which is why the rounds are also named accordingly. Stud Poker begins with an ante bet, and not blinds like in Omaha or Texas Hold'em, which every player has to place. There are two kinds of bets in Stud Poker, 'limit' bets and 'spread' bets. In High-Limit Stud Poker, the betting pattern is such that the lower bets are placed in the initial rounds, and higher bets are placed in the last few rounds. For instance, in a £2/4 table, the first 2 rounds are at £2 and the last three rounds are at £4.
However, in 'spread' bets, say of £1 to £5, players can bet any amount between £1 and £5 in all the rounds. A raise in such a case would refer to doubling the original bet.
In Stud Poker, there is usually a separate dealer who handles the table. The dealer button or card is given to the player who would be the last to play. The actual dealer collects the bets, and the player left to the dealer has to begin the game after the antes.
In the beginning, all the players at the table place the ante bet, which is a very small fraction of the actual bet. The ante bet is usually around 25%, so the ante at a £2/4 table would be £0.50. While a Stud Poker game usually begins with an ante, some poker rooms may have low-limit games without an ante bet. After the ante, each player is dealt three cards, two cards are face down and one is face up. The face up card is called the door card, and the face down cards are the hole cards.
The first round of betting is also referred to as Third Street, where street is the card dealt. The player with the lowest door card has to "bring-in" the first bet. The 'bring-in' bet is slightly more than the ante bet, but less than the minimum bet. So in a £5/10 table, the 'bring-in' bet would be around £2. Continuing clockwise, the other players can either fold, bet, call, or raise. The raise in this round should be equal to the minimum bet, and not double the previous bet. In the £2/4 game, the raise would be £2.
Before the second round of betting, the players get the fourth card, which is dealt face up. The player with the highest exposed cards starts the round and has an option to either check or bet. The other players can either bet, raise, or fold. Players can only check if there have been no bets placed during the round.
The next round of betting begins after each player is dealt the fifth card, face up. This round begins like the earlier round, but the betting increments would be on the higher side. So in a £2/4 game, betting would be in multiples of £4 from this round.
In the next round, the sixth card is dealt, and betting continues for active players. Players have the option to bet, fold, call, or raise.
The final round is when the seventh card is dealt face down, to all active players. After a round of betting, the player with the highest 5-card hand is considered the winner. The only player left at the table, if all others fold, is automatically considered the winner, without having to show the cards. Otherwise, players show their cards for evaluation, and one with the highest cards wins the pot.
In case of a tie, the winner is determined with the rank of the suits. Spades being the highest, and clubs being the lowest. Stud Poker is played with one deck of cards. Therefore, there is a chance that there won't be sufficient number of cards to deal the seventh street. If this is the case, a single community card is dealt face up, which all the players use as their 7th card and continue the game.