Five Card Stud

Five card stud once ruled the roost in terms of popularity and was the most popular poker variant for the middle part of the last century before being eclipsed by Seven Card Stud, Five Card Draw and eventually Texas Hold ‘em. Unlike Holdem, where the most popular form of the game is played with a ‘no limit’ betting structure and Seven Card Stud which is typically played fixed limit, Five Card Stud has no betting structure that is significantly more popular than any other.

Playing a Five Card Stud Hand

Players who are familiar with Texas Hold ‘em will be used to a structure where the betting action is started by forcing players to pay ‘blind’ bets, but Stud games are most commonly played using an ‘ante’ and a ‘bring-in’. Before the cards are dealt, every player at the table must put an ante, typically quite a small amount relative to the poker stakes being played, into the pot.

The dealer then deals each player two cards; one faced down and one face up. Following this, the player with the lowest ranked ‘up-card’ must pay another bet known as the ‘bring-in’, which is typically a small multiple of the ante. The action then starts on this player who can complete the bet in a limit game or raise in pot limit or no limit variants. If two or more players have the same rank of low card, the bring-in is paid by the player with the worst suit ranking which go: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs in order of strength.

The action proceeds around the table with all players having the option to call, raise or fold. After this betting round is complete and one player has matched the last bet we move on to the next round. If all players have folded to a raise or it is folded around to the bring-in, the last player standing wins the pot.

The next round is known as Third Street. Action begins with each player being dealt another card face up. The betting action on this and subsequent rounds begins on the player with the highest possible two card poker hand (on this street a pair of Aces would be the best possible face-up hand). This player may decide to ‘check’ passing the action along to the next player, or bet. Action proceeds around the table and if the last bet has been called we move on to Fourth Street, where each player is dealt another card face up and we have another betting round.

Fifth Street, the final round sees all players being dealt a fourth card face up after which there is a final betting round. If the final bet is called or all players check then we go to showdown, where players must show their face down card in order to lay claim to the pot. The pot is awarded to the player with the best five card poker hand judged by standard poker hand rankings.