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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 Basics of Stud Poker

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.

Recommended Stud Poker Sites

Playing 7-Card Stud

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:

Other Stud Poker Variants

General Strategy

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.

If you're still unsure about stud poker's many forms, experiment with variants and strategies online at sites like Party Poker, before joining live games.


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