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Stud Poker Strategy

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Stud Poker basic strategy summary

To maximise your chances of winning, follow these simple rules of basic Stud Poker strategy:

  • Bet when you hold a pair or better.
  • Bet when you hold an ace/king if your hand contains the same card as the dealer's up card.
  • Otherwise fold.

Also remember to avoid betting on the progressive bonus. It would be awful to take that option, get a good hand only to find the dealer fails to qualify.

It should be noted that even using basic strategy, casinos using the typical Stud Poker rules still have a 5.22% advantage, this certainly does not help the popularity of Stud Poker. However to throw mud into water, we have found casinos offering significantly better payout structures more.

Stud Poker strategy explained

Players should always play pairs regardless of the dealer's upcard. As Pairs are dealt out only 42% of the time. Of the 13 possible pairs, 7 of them have a positive expectation, meaning they should win more times than they lose in the long run. 3 of the possible pairs have a positive expectation when the dealer's upcard is equal to or lower than the player's pair. Lastly, there are only 3 pairs that are expected to lose in the long run (2's, 3's and 4's). Therefore, ten of the thirteen possible pair combinations should show a profit and three should not.

The reason why you should play the small pairs, is that you would lose your ante otherwise and the house advantage would jump to 7%!  Remember, pairs are only dealt just over over 42% of the time, so the odds are the dealer won't have a paired hand. Also the dealer will actually qualify with an Ace-King hand around 6 percent of the time. During these times, the player will win both their ante bet and their raise bet.

Players should raise when under the following conditions:

Players Hand Dealers Upcard
Any Pair Any Upcard
A-K-Q-J-x Any Upcard
A-K-Q-x-x Must match one of players cards
A-K-J-x-x Must match one of players cards
A-K-10-x-x Must match one of players cards

(The reason the dealer's upcard must match one of the player's cards is to reduce the chance of the dealer having a pair).

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