Updated: Mar 20th, 2023

Stud Poker

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.

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How We Pick the Best Stud Poker Sites

You can now play Stud poker online at the top online poker sites. The game is legal in a handful of states and you have the choice of playing for free or real money. Here’s how our Gambling.com team selects the very best Stud poker sites in 2020:

Range of Stud Games: Are you looking for cash games, tournaments or satellites? We do a thorough lobby review to make sure you have access to a great selection.

Safe Gambling Online: All our top online Stud poker rooms are properly licensed in the states they operate in. The best legal sites should also have high-end encryption so that your personal details and funds are protected.

Fast Deposits & Withdrawals: A poker player wants easy access to their funds when they play Stud poker online. The best poker sites offer instant deposits and a host of easy withdrawal options.

A Healthy Range of Stakes: Whether you want to play freerolls, micro-stakes cash games or big-money tournaments, the best Stud poker sites have every poker player covered.

Great Customer Support: It’s important to get access to helpful customer service when you play online poker. You should be able to talk to someone via live chat, email, or phone.

Welcome Bonuses & Promotions: An online Stud poker site is only as good as its promotions. New players should be able to earn a welcome bonus offering free cash or tournament buy-ins. A loyal or active player should also be able to sign up to a rewards program and earn regular benefits.

What is Stud Poker?

Stud is a popular form of poker played between 2 and 7 players. Typically, it’s played in four formats, where the aim is to form the best 5-card poker hand:

In 5-card Stud, each player receives 5 cards, with the first card dealt face down. In 7-card Stud, every player gets 3 cards face down and 4 face up for everyone to see. In these stud game variants, the aim is to get the highest possible poker hand.

Stud Hi-Lo is a variant of 7-card Stud where both the highest hand and the lowest qualifying hand can win. It’s possible for the pot to be split between the winning high hand and the winning low hand.

Stud poker is generally played as a cash game with limit betting rounds. There is a maximum raise bet for the first few rounds, followed by a higher maximum raise bet for the final rounds. However, you can also play Stud poker online in tournaments and Sit & Gos at the best online poker sites.

Rules to Know When Playing Stud Poker

Stud poker is a popular game that is still played in cardrooms today. Unlike Texas Hold’em, there are no community cards that are shared by all players. Instead, each player receives their own cards that they must use to make a hand.

Stud Hands

5-card Stud: 1 card face down, 4 cards face up.

7-card Stud/Razz/Stud Hi-Lo: 2 cards face down, 4 cards face up, 1 card face down.

The Ante Bet

Before a hand, every player pays an ante wager. This is a small bet that starts the action.

The Deal

The dealer “burns” (discards) a card, then deals cards to each player’s hand. In 7-card Stud, each player receives two down cards and one up card. In 5-card Stud, players get one down card and one up card. The player showing the low card must “bring in” the action and start the betting. They can complete the forced bet or make a raise.


After the first round of betting has been completed, the dealer deals one up card to every player and there is a round of betting. Another up card is dealt to each player, followed by more betting.

After the next up card is dealt and betting is completed, players in 5-card Stud move to a showdown (see below) as they have received their fifth and final card. In 7-card stud, a final card is dealt to each player’s hand, face down. There is a final round of betting before the showdown.


Once all streets and the river have been dealt, there is a showdown between every player remaining. Hands are compared according to standard poker hand rankings:

How to Play 7 Card Stud Poker Online

It’s easy to get started playing Stud poker online. First, you’ll need to open your poker account. Choose one of our recommended Stud poker sites, grab your driver’s license or passport and you’re ready to go.

1. Download the desktop client or mobile app.

2. Open the software and enter the registration page. You’ll need to create a username and password.

3. Next, provide your home address, email address, date of birth and phone number.

4. Provide the last 4 digits of your Social Security number (SSN).

5. Click on the confirmation email to complete your registration.

6. You can now make a first deposit and enter a bonus promo code if you have one. Store card details on the site or make a bank transfer using your standard internet banking page.

7. Remember, you may have to supply some personal documents in order to verify your ID. These include a copy of your driver’s license or passport, plus a copy of a recent utility bill.

8. Open the Stud poker lobby to bring up the available games. Ensure you have enough funds to afford the minimum buy-in or tournament entry fee.

9. Click on a table to reserve your seat. Ensure your Wi-Fi is solid before taking your seat. You’ll also need your geolocation tools switched on if you’re playing in a regulated US state.

Where Can I Play Stud Poker Online?

You can now play Stud poker online legally in about half a dozen US states. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware were first out of the blocks in regulating online poker games. Pennsylvania has joined them with very limited poker site options. However, the first legal online poker site in PA to open was PokerStars, possibly the biggest online Stud poker room in the world.


West Virginia poker has also joined the gang and will start offering legalized poker rooms some time in 2021. Stud players will hope that WV and MI soon join other regulated states in a multistate compact in order to share player pools.

Other Types of Poker Games Available Online

Several real money poker games are available online in addition to Stud poker and its variants. Among them are:

Texas Hold'em | The most popular form of poker has players make the best five-card hand from two hole cards and five community cards.

Omaha | Players are dealt four hole cards and must use two of those to build their hand. Omaha is usually played as a cash game, but you’ll also find Sit & Gos and tournaments online.

Razz Poker | Razz is a variant of the stud poker game where the lowest five-card hand wins. For example, the best card in Razz is A-2-3-4-5. The bring-in is the player showing the highest up-card, not the lowest.

Badugi Poker | Badugi is a draw poker game played with four-card hands instead of five. Players discard cards in between each betting round to try to improve their hand. The lowest hand wins, where A-2-3-4 of different suits is the best hand.


Yes. This is the face-down discarded card from the top of the deck before the start of each round. It’s conceivable in seven card stud that burn cards can be mixed and re-used if the deck is exhausted (which would occur if every player at a full table stayed in until the end of the hand).

In five card stud poker, all players are dealt five cards instead of seven. Initially, each player is dealt two cards, one face-up and one down. After a betting round, another face-up card is dealt to each remaining player. The same sequence continues until all five cards are dealt.

Seven-card stud is the most popular variant of stud poker. In 7-card stud, players are dealt a mix of face-up and face-down cards and attempt to make the highest possible five-card hand, with betting intervals after each round. Seven card stud is one of the most traditional games in poker and remains a popular online option.

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Hi, I'm Bill Ordine

"A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the world Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade."

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Reviewer since May 2020