Five Card Stud

Introduction to Five Card Stud

Five Card Stud is the earliest form of Stud Poker that we know of, dating back to before the American civil war. Five Card Stud was a very popular variant of poker, but has in recent times experienced a loss in popularity due to Texas Hold'em and Omaha blowing up. Five Card Stud used to be played at the World Series of Poker, being a preliminary event from 1971 to 1974 with all events own by Bill Boyd. Now only a few online poker sites and very few casinos offer the game to be played as cash games or tournaments.

Five Card Stud doesn't have much in common with the popular games of today, except from the hand ranking system, which is the common "high ranking" system. In Five Card Stud players are first dealt two cards, one face down and one face up and then the players are dealt one card face up the next three street, ending up with a total of five cards. With four cards out of the five shown to the other players, Five Card Stud is giving away more information to the opponents than most other games. This affects the game play, as there is very little left to imagination and many hands are quickly over. Five Card Stud can still provide good action and is quite fun to play, it is just very different from the games we see as regular games now.

It doesn't take very long to learn how to play Five Card Stud. The main problem when playing it with friends at home is the bring-in and who acts first each street, but when you play Five Card Stud online you will not have these issues as the software will take care of everything for you. Five Card Stud can be played in all the different limits such as Fixed Limit, No Limit and Pot Limit, but is mainly played in Fixed Limit to limit the betting amount each round.

Basic Game Play

To begin playing Five Card Stud, you will need to learn the basic game play rules of the game.

Just like in all other poker games, Five Card Stud needs to have a dealer assigned for each hand. The dealer will deal the cards clockwise and give each player one card face down and one card face up the first round. When each player has received their cards, the game begins.

Unlike in many other games, there are no blinds being paid in Five Card Stud. Instead the game has ante's that all players have to pay and one player has to "bring-in" the first bet. The player who has to bring-in the first bet is decided by who has the lowest ranking card of the face up cards he was dealt. Should two players or more have the same low card, the suit of the cards decide who has to act first. The suits value is decided by alphabetical order, with the lowest being clubs and the highest being hearts. The action then goes clockwise around the table until everyone has made their decision.

After the players have been dealt the first two cards, another three rounds will follow. In each round the players still in the hand will be dealt one card face up, ending with each player having five cards in total, four face up and one face down.

To determine who gets to act first the following betting round, the player with the best showing poker hand will act first. This means that if a player has a pair shown in his face up cards and the other players don't have anything, the player with the pair will be the first to choose his action.

Five Card Stud can be played with 2-10 players at the table at the same time, the more players the more action there will be.

The Dealer Button

In Five Card Stud, the dealer button doesn't have any advantage like it has in other games, as the button doesn't decide which player has to post the bring-in or who gets to act first or last. All of this is decided by the cards in the game, making the dealer button only show who is virtually dealing the cards.

To find the player starting with the dealer button in a new game, all players are dealt one card face up and the player with the highest ranking card will win the dealer button. The game is now ready to begin.

Ante & Bring-In (First Betting Round)

The first betting round is where players are dealt the first two cards, one face up and one face down. All players will be forced to pay an ante which is usually 1/10 of the big bet, before the cards are dealt. When the cards has been dealt, the player with the lowest ranking face up card will then have to post the bring-in as a minimum, but can also choose to raise instead. Being a fixed limit game primarily, the player will only be able to raise a fixed amount.

The other players will now get their turn by rotating the action clockwise. The players acting after the bring-in will have the following options:

Fold: When they do not wish to pay the bring-in amount or a raised amount because of a bad hand compared to what they can see the others have, they fold

Call: When the players have a good starting hand, equal to the other they will call the bring-in or raised amount to receive the next card

Raise: When a player thinks he have a better hand than the others, he will raise to get more money in the pot

When all players have had their turn to choose their action, the hand moves on to the second betting round, known as the Third Street.

Third Street (Second Betting Round)

The second betting round is also known as the third street, because it is where the players receive their third card. The dealer will deal each player one more card face up and the betting round begins.

Unlike in the first betting round, the player who has to act first is not decided by who has the worst shown hand, but by who has the best shown hand. This means that if a player has a pair shown and the other players don't he will start the betting round. This pattern is the same on the next two streets that will be dealt.

Players have the possibility to check in this round for free, if there has been no prior bets made. The other options are to call any bet, raise and fold the hand. When all players has taken their action, the hand moves on the next betting round.

Fourth Street (Third Betting Round)

The third betting round goes the exact same way as the second betting round. All players are dealt one more card face up and the player with the best hand showing has to start the betting round.

Players have the option to check, call, raise or fold depending on the prior action and their hand. When all players have acted, the hand moves on to the last and final betting round.

Fifth Street (Fourth and Final Betting Round)

The final betting round is known as the fifth street, as it's where the players are dealt the fifth and last card. The fifth card is dealt face up, so all players now have four cards face up and one face down. The player with the best showing hand will act first in the betting round and the remaining players will act after.

Players can check, call, raise or fold their hands and if more than one player is left at the end of the betting round, the hand goes to showdown (doesn't happen a lot in Five Card Stud).


When two players or more are left at the end of the final betting round, the hand will go to showdown where the face down card will be revealed, showing the strength of each players hand.

The player with the best ranking hand, using the high ranking system wins the hand and the pot and a new hand will begin right after.

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