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How To Play Five Card Stud Poker

March 6, 2019 3775 0
How To Play Five Card Stud Poker

When it comes to poker, stud poker is a purely American game first played in the 1860s. Not many know why five card stud poker was called as such. Many assume that poker is simply poker.

The Five Card Stud Poker allegedly got its name when it was played during Post Civil War in a backwoods salon in Ohio. As claimed, the game was just called “draw” poker and one poker player had three kings with all his money on the table. The poker player went out, got his stallion, and tied it to his chair as additional betting collateral. But he realized that when he got out to get his horse, his opponents had most likely looked at his cards. He then demanded everyone to face up three of their cards, discard two of them and draw an additional two cards facing down. This was how stud horse poker was coined.

Before, poker games were played with cards faced down or closed – only the players can know the cards they have. Stud poker is played with some of the cards facing up or open for other players to see and weigh whether they have the better hand, allowing them to decide with more confidence whether they should bet or fold. It should be noted, however, that stud poker leaves one card face down or the hole card until the showdown.

In Five Card Stud Poker, the first card is dealt hidden or face down whilst the four cards are given face up with rounds of betting after each one is dealt. This game was quite popular when it started but has taken a backseat more recently, giving Texas Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha more exposure.

Playing Five Card Stud Poker

Since card games are popular in Thailand, it is good to discuss the tips and tricks to playing five card stud poker. The game uses the regular 52-card pack. Each player is only dealt five cards each so up to 10 people can play each game. The sequencing of the play follows dealing cards clockwise with the dealer giving one card each player at a time. The game follows that:

  1. Each player put their ante in the pot.
  2. Each player is given one card face down and one face up followed by a betting round.
  3. Each player is given a third card face up followed by a betting round.
  4. Each player is given a fourth card face up followed by a betting round.
  5. Each player is given a fifth card face up followed by a betting round.
  6. Players who chose to continue playing must now show their card.
  7. The player with the best five-card hand wins the round.

Note: The face-down card, first dealt to the player, is also called as the hole card.

Betting Order

The betting round is begun by the player with the best showing hand. For Five Stud Card Poker, the pairs, trio, two pairs, and quads follow the traditional poker order. For example, players with three cards showing 7-7-7 is higher than the one with 9-9-8, which in turn, is higher than A-K-Q. Do note that incomplete flushes and straights are not counted. In case of a tie, the suits are then compared using the ranking order of clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades from lowest to highest.  

There are some who make several variations including forcing players to make a compulsory bet or a bring-in. If this happens, there can be no ante. There are also instances that the bring-in bet is placed by the player with the lowest showing card, which is usually what American casinos would include as a rule for the Five Card Stud Poker.

Betting Size

Most of the time, players agree on the size of bets they can play. This game is also played as a fixed limit game that follows these conditions:

    • Before the start of the game, the players agree on the small and big bets. Big bets are often twice the small bets.
    • If in case, a compulsory bet or bring-in is ruled, the amount of ante is lower than the small bet and the compulsory bet is normally lower than the small bet but higher than the ante.
    • The first player to open the betting round can choose to play with a full small bet instead of the bring-in amount.
    • In the event that the opener places only a minimum compulsory bet, the next player can choose to complete the bet to a small bet, call the bring-in, or fold. When a player completes the bet, it signals that the other players can raise a bet. Let’s say the opener chooses to start with a full small bet, next players can now raise.
    • The first betting round does not allow big bets.
    • Should no player choose to place a compulsory bet in the first betting round, a larger ante should be placed and only full small bets are considered in the first betting round.
    • Each betting round would only allow one bet and a maximum of three raises if there are three active players during the betting round. If the bring-in less than the small bet is not considered a bet.
    • If players have two face-up cards during the second betting round, a player can be allowed to place a big bet if any one of the players has a pair or better showing. This means anyone can place a big bet or raise a bet even though they are not the one who owns the pair.
    • There are instances that Five Card Stud Poker is played with the ruling that each raise should be equal to the last bet or raise. When such a rule is in place, only big raises are allowed during that round. Some players who play this at home, do not have this rule. This allows the players to answer a bet with a small raise and thus, uses one of the allowed three raises. This limits the potential pot size.
    • Players can also choose to allow only big bets during the last two betting rounds – this ruling commonly applies to casino-hosted games.

What are the Different Variations of Five Card Stud Poker?

Poker players often like to challenge themselves so it is not unusual to find poker games with variations that suit different playing styles. There are times when Five Card Stud is played that only shows three cards, with the fifth card dealt face down. Here are other game variations of Five Card Stud that makes it more interesting:


In this variation, the player with the lowest hand wins the pot. In American casinos, some play it ace-to-five ranking but many who play poker at home use ace-to-six ranking. The player with the highest showing card (Ace is counted as low) starts the betting with a bring-in bet.  Whilst the next betting rounds are started by the one with the lowest hand. The player with a pair (considered not a good hand) cannot place a big bet. The same rules apply as the regular Five Card Stud, but the hand with the lowest score wins.

Five Card Stud High-Low

This variation has the same deal and betting rules as the traditional Five Card Stud. The only difference it has is at the showdown. The pot is equally split between the players that have the lowest and highest cards. In case of an odd chip, it goes to the high hand. In home poker games, this variation is played with a declaration, meaning players must either declare “high” or “low” during the final betting round. This can be done simultaneously or in order of sequence on the table. There are games that do not allow players to claim both since it is rather unusual to have unless they are playing ace-to-five ranking.

Five Card Stud High-Low with a Buy

This variant is commonly played in home poker games. It follows the same rules as the Five Card Stud High-Low except that when the fifth or last card has been dealt, each player can “buy” a card. This allows the player to throw away one card and get a replacement card from the deck. The replacement deck should be dealt face up if it replaces a face-up card or face down if it replaces a face-down card.

The player who discards a card or buys a new card must pay the agreed upon amount to the pot. Once the buying is final, the final betting round ensues, including the declaration and showdown. Some instances, a game allows two rounds of buying, with the second round costing more than the first one.

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