Guide to Stud Poker

By Jon Young

You can now play Stud poker online at the very best poker sites in the United States. Sign up in minutes and make a deposit before hunting out real-money tables to enjoy at home or on your mobile device. At, we have the lowdown on the best Stud poker sites in America. Experience safe and legal online poker rooms where you can win real cash and earn a bonus at the same time.

How TopUSCasinos Picks the Best Stud Poker Sites

You can find Stud poker at many US gambling sites. That’s why our review team does thorough research when putting together reviews. Among the things we consider:

Safety & Licensing: To play a Stud poker game online, you must only sign up at reliable sites that are properly licensed in the state you’re playing in. We also check that every poker room offers audited random number generators and handles cheats.

Selection of Stud Variants: Does the poker site offer seven card Stud only, or a mix of five card Stud, Stud Hi-Lo and Razz too? The very best Stud poker sites will offer cash games and tournaments as standard.

Stakes to Suit All Budget Levels: Stud can be daunting for a new poker player, so it’s important to find freerolls, play-money tables and low-stakes games. Our top poker sites offer a range of budget levels.

Fast Banking: It’s important to enjoy quick banking if you want to play Stud poker online for real money. Deposits should be instant, and there should be no fees. Plus, you should be able to get access to your winnings within a few days.

Bonuses & Offers: Poker sites are only as good as their bonuses. New customers should be offered a welcome bonus, while loyal customers should have access to rakeback, player points and free tournament entries.

Customer Support: Got an issue? Licensed online poker sites will provide 24-hour customer service via email, phone or live chat.

States Where Stud Poker is Legal

You can play Stud poker legally in a handful of US states. Not all regulated states have sites yet, but expect to see fully working online rooms some time in 2021. In addition, New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have an interstate compact that allows poker player pools to be shared across state lines. Remember, to play in a real money stud poker game, you will have to be physically located in the state where the site is licensed, though you can register and find the account from anywhere.

New Jersey: The Garden State was one of the first places in the US to legalized online poker. You can now play Stud poker in New Jersey for real money as long as you are 21 or over.

Nevada: It’s not surprising that the home of Las Vegas and the WSOP offers legal online poker. You can play Stud poker online in Nevada at some of the largest branded sites in the world. You can even play in online WSOP Stud tournaments if you are located in Nevada.

Delaware: Delaware first regulated online poker in 2013. You can now enjoy Stud poker online in Delaware for real money, plus you can play against opponents based in New Jersey and Nevada.

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania was the fourth state to legalize all forms of online poker, including Stud. Best of all, Pennsylvania is home to PokerStars PA, the world’s largest online poker room.

West Virginia: West Virginia has fully legalized most forms of betting, including Stud poker. Expect the first WV Stud poker sites to appear in 2021.

Michigan: Like West Virginia, Michigan has given a blanket all-clear to legalized online betting and poker. The first Stud poker rooms are likely to go live some time in 2021.

How to Play 7 Card Stud Poker Online

First, find the best Stud poker sites. Read our reviews and find a great online poker site in your home state. To get started, you’ll need to set up an account. Either register at the poker site’s homepage, or download an app.

Step 1: Create a secure username and password.

Step 2: Provide some vital personal details such as home address, email address and cell number.

Step 3: Enter the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. This is to verify you are over 21 and resident in the United States.

Step 4: Enter a promo code if available. You’ll be awarded free play credits or a deposit match bonus when you start playing games.

Step 5: Make your first deposit by prepaid card, debit/credit card, bank transfer or e-wallet. You may have to upload a scan of your driver’s license or passport in order to complete the verification process.

Step 6: Start playing Stud poker online. You’ll find a list of cash games and tournaments in the poker lobby. You can also filter the games by stake, number of players or start time.

Find a table with a spare seat and click on it to open. You will need to load funds if you can’t meet the minimum buy-in. In a cash game, you’ll be able to leave whenever you like as long as you aren’t in the hand.

RELATED: Are You A New Player? Check Out Our Guide To The Basic Rules of Poker

Basic Rules for 7-Card Stud Poker

Stud poker is a classic game played with up to 8 players. The aim of the game is to form the best 5-card hand from 7 cards. Each player receives the first two cards and the last card face down. Every other card is dealt face up in full view of the other players. Here's the basics of how to play stud poker:

Placing the Ante Bet: Before the hand starts, every player places an ante bet. This is an enforced bet that’s usually a fraction of the “small bet.” For instance, in a $1/$2 stud game, the ante wager might be as low as $0.15 or $0.20.

The Deal: Every player receives two cards face down (each is considered a “hole card”), and one face up. The player showing the lowest up card is the “bring in” and must start the first round of betting. They have the option of checking (making no bet) or betting. The next player can either check, call or raise.

Betting: On this round of betting (“third street”) and the next round (“fourth street” after the fourth card is dealt face up) the minimum bet is the small bet. In this case, it would be $1. Any raise bet would have to be in increments of $1 too.

Fifth Street: After third street and fourth street betting, a fifth card is dealt out. The player showing the highest hand starts the betting.

Sixth Street: Another up card is dealt to every player. Again, the player showing the highest hand starts the betting.

Seventh Street: The final card – “the river” – is dealt face down. The betting is started by the player with the highest hand showing.

Showdown: Once all betting has ended, there is a showdown between players who have not folded. The best five-card poker hand wins, following standard hand rankings:

  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Four of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a Kind
  • Two Pair
  • One Pair
  • High Card

RELATED: Check Out Our Online Poker Strategy & Tips Guide To Learn More

Alternative Variants for Stud Poker

While seven card Stud is the most popular form of the Stud game, there are some other interesting variants available online.

Stud Hi/Lo: Stud Hi/Lo, also known as Stud Eight or Better, or Stud 8, features high and low hands. Potentially, the pot can be split between the highest 5-card hand, and the worst. The low hand must qualify. i.e. 5 cards worth 8 or lower.

5-Card Stud: Five Card Stud is less commonly available online. However, it’s still a popular cash game variant in US casinos. In five card Stud, each player receives just 5 cards, with the first card dealt face down.

Razz: Razz forms one round in a game of H.O.R.S.E. It’s a lowball version of Stud where the lowest 5-card hand wins, not the highest. The best hand in Razz is A-2-3-4-5, where straights and flushes don’t count.

Stud Poker Winning Hands

Get off on the right foot with the best 7-Card Stud starting hands:

Rolled-Up Trips: (A-A) A; (K-K) K; (Q-Q) Q; (J-J) J; (10-10) 10; (9-9) 9; (8-8) 8

Suited Connectors: (Ad-Kd) Qd; (Kd-Qd) Jd; (Qd Jd) 10d

Suited Semi-Connectors: (Ad-Qd) 10d; (Ad-Kd) 10d; (Qd-Jd) 9d

Big Pairs: (A-A) x; (K-K) x; (Q-Q) x; (J-J) x

Seven-Card Stud vs. Texas Hold'em

7-Card Stud was the dominant poker game long before Texas Hold’em became the most popular card game in the world. While the hand rankings are the same, 7-Card Stud and Texas Hold’em have several big differences:

Betting Limits: 7-Card Stud is generally played with antes and a bring-in bet. The betting is usually done as limit, where there is an upper limit on raises for every street. Texas Hold’em can be played with fixed limits or no limit where there is no restriction on betting.

Betting Rounds: In Texas Hold’em there are just four betting rounds. In Stud, players enjoy five betting rounds.

Position: In Hold’em, players have a distinct advantage based on their position at the table. Late position is considered better than early position, for example. In Stud, the hand starts with the player showing the lowest up card.

Community Cards: In Texas Hold’em, everyone shares five cards to form the best poker hand. In Stud, you use your own seven cards to make the best 5-card hand.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Stud Poker

Stud works slightly differently to Texas Hold’em. Here are some main mistakes to avoid:

Only Play Strongest Hands: Starting hand selection is vital in Stud games. Don’t be worried to fold a marginal hand and wait for strong cards.

Remember Folded Up Cards: In Stud, you get to see everyone’s up cards. But if several players are out, you must remember what cards have been folded from each hand. This helps you to gauge whether you have a chance of improving.

Fold or Raise: The “pump it or dump it” rule holds in Stud. Avoid flat-calling wherever possible. Either make a strong raise or dump your hand.

Use Bluffs Well: Stud is a game with partial information. Opponents can only see your up cards but not your down cards. It’s possible to bluff a flush or straight if it looks like you have a made hand.

Should I Play Stud Poker Online?

7-Card Stud is one of the classic poker variants but can be hard to find online. Because fewer people play the game online, it’s easier to make money if you know what you’re doing.

Start off at the play-money tables and try a freeroll or cash game. Once you’re comfortable with understanding starting hands and learning how to bluff, you can try playing for real cash.

Ready to try Stud online? Sign up with one of top legal poker sites in the US and play for free now.

Stud Poker FAQ

7-Card Stud is played with three hole cards and four up cards for every player's hand. There are no community cards and games are usually played with Limit betting.

7 Card Stud is the more popular variant of Stud. You will find many more 7 Stud cash games and tournaments to play online.

The best starting hand in 7-Card Stud is rolled aces with two in the hole and one face up.

Of course! The best online poker rooms in the US will spread Stud cash games and tournaments at a range of stakes.

Yes. The top online poker sites in the US offer cashback and no-deposit bonuses for Stud players. Just sign up and claim your bonus today.


Jon Young is a writer and magazine editor with over 12 years' experience in the gaming sector. He has written on everything from poker and slots to casino, sports betting and mobile gambling. When not trying to take down the Mega Moolah jackpot he can be found playing poker tournaments in casinos.

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