The meteoric rise of Texas Hold'em quickly eclipsed 7-Card Stud as the poker beginner's game of choice. But with Mississippi Stud on the rise, and various stud variants showing staying power on the casino floor, there's a compelling case for devising a stud strategy of your own.
The key difference between stud poker and Hold'em is that there are no community cards. Players are simply dealt a mix of face-up and face-down (also known as 'hole') cards over multiple betting rounds. Different variants involve different numbers of cards.
Like all poker styles, betting limits can be applied to each stage. Sometimes it's a pot limit, sometimes a percentage of the ante (initial stake). Often, each betting stage allows players to raise up to three times the ante.
7-Card Stud remains the most popular stud poker variant so, to explain the basics of how to play, we'll take that as an example:
Player lays the ante (initial stake). Players are dealt two cards face-down (only player can look at these) and one face-up. Player with the lowest face-up card bets the bring-in, and betting proceeds clockwise.
Another up card is dealt, and Fourth Street betting begins. A third up card is dealt, Fifth Street betting begins. A fourth up card is dealt, Sixth Street betting begins. A final down card is dealt (making seven cards total) is dealt and final, or Seventh Street, betting occurs
Because there are no community cards, there is less opportunity for players to build big hands like straight flushes and royal flushes, and thus high (10 to Ace) two pair and pair hands have much greater value in stud poker than community variants like Hold'em.
As well as encouraging bets on high pairs, this should discourage the pursuit of straights and flushes unless the cards are also high. Generally, because of the reduced options available to build a hand, experienced players will fold when their hand is beaten by the face-up cards on the table.
Like Hold'em, the timing of your betting is everything. For example, betting high when you start with a high pair will push people into folding and reduce the odds of someone drawing a big hand.