Five Card Stud Overview

Five Card Stud is the oldest known form of stud poker, predating even 7 Card Stud. It is believed to have been created as an offshoot of Five Card Draw, which is an even older poker game. The game became widespread during the American Civil War thanks to its popularity among troops in the field.

5 Card Stud is not as popular today as it once was so it can be hard to find good games whether playing online or live. Because each player only gets 5 cards and there are no draws, the average winning hand is just a single pair. Players who have already been exposed to any other form of poker often find Five Card Stud unbearably slow. To learn a little more about the game, you may also want to look at the popular Five Card Stud Variations.

How to Play

Each hand of 5 Card Stud begins with all the players at the table paying the “ante,” which is a small bet that each player must place every hand. The antes are relatively small, at about a quarter to half the size of the lower betting limit. In a $5/$10 game, the antes are usually about $1.00 to $2.00.

Once the antes have been paid, each player is dealt one card face down and one card face up. The player with the lowest card showing must start the betting by paying the “bring-in” which is another form of forced bet. The bring-in is equal in size to half the lower betting limit. Once that player has paid the bring-in, that player may check or “complete” the bring-in by raising it to the full minimum bet. The betting then continues clockwise around the table.

After all the bets have been matched, each player is dealt one more card face up. This time the betting begins with the player who has the highest hand showing. This player may check or bet. The action then continues to the left around the table.

Note – if two players are showing the same hand at the beginning of a betting round, the tie can be broken by suit. Suits are ranked alphabetically, with clubs being the highest, followed by diamonds, hearts and spades.

Next, each player is dealt one more card face up. Once again, the betting begins with the player who has the highest hand showing. From this point on, the upper betting limit is used for all bets.

Finally, each player is dealt one last card face up. There is one last round of betting and then any players still in the hand have a showdown. The player with the best 5 card poker hand wins the pot.

Basic Strategy

1. Card Memorization

There isn’t much left to the imagination in 5 Card Stud because all but 1 card of each player’s hand is dealt face up. If you can become proficient at memorizing which cards you have seen, including folded cards, you’ll be able to estimate the likelihood of you getting the cards you need and how likely it is that your opponents have what they are representing by their bets.

2. Hand Values

Hand values go way up in 5 Card Stud because strong hands are so rare in the game. Big pairs will often win the pot and hands like three of a kind, flushes and straights are monsters. If you’re used to playing other games such as Texas Holdem, it will require patience as you get used to seeing big hands on a very infrequent basis.

3. Note the Up Cards

Always pay attention to your opponents’ up cards. It might sound obvious but it’s easy to get carried away with your own hand and neglect to pay attention to what your opponents are showing. If what you have can’t beat what an opponent is showing, you should fold your hand.

4. Learn the Odds

Math isn’t the most exciting subject but a little work on your knowledge of odds will take you a long ways in 5 Card Stud. The easiest way to do this is to count the number of cards that you need (your “outs”) and then compare those to the number of cards remaining in the deck.

For example, if you have four cards to a diamond flush, you can figure your odds by first realizing there are 13 cards of each suit in the deck. If 2 of your opponents’ up cards are diamonds and you have 4 in your hand, you know there are 7 diamonds left in the deck. Then you compare the number of outs you have (7) to the number of cards remaining in the deck. It can be confusing at first but it really does get easier with time.

Finding a Great Poker Site for 5 Card Stud

There aren’t many people playing 5 Card Stud online these days so you’ll have to choose your poker site carefully. First, you need to find out which poker sites offer 5 Card Stud in the first place. Many poker sites don’t support it, but the poker sites listed on our best sites for 5 Card Stud section still offer the game.

It is equally important that you play at a site with a lot of players so you can find tables that actually have players at them. Unfortunately, a lot of the smaller poker sites just don’t have enough players to support their 5 Card Stud tables.

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