Today, when you say the word “poker,” most people presume you’re talking about Texas Hold’em. This is, after all, the most popular type of poker in existence today.
Today, you won’t find many casinos spreading this old game, but a good poker player knows they should be ready for anything. You never know where you might come across a juicy game that includes something other than Hold’em or PLO.
In this article, I’ll teach you how to play 5 card stud, just in case you happen to need it. The good news is that this isn’t a particularly hard game to learn, at least as far as 5 card stud rules are concerned.
The other side of the coin is that this game, just like any other poker variation out there, will require you to learn some new strategy tricks to beat your opponents and make money in the long run.
5 Card Stud Rules
Let’s start by learning the basic 5 card stud rules. These are quite straightforward, so you should have no problems memorizing them. Plus, if you have experience with other stud games like 7 card stud, these things will come naturally to you.
Dealing Cards in 5 Card Stud Poker
Five card stud uses a betting structure that’s standard for stud variations. Instead of blinds, all players are required to post an ante before the first card is dealt. Everyone puts in the same prearranged amount into the pot.
Then, the deal begins.
The dealer will start with the first player to the left of them and deal each player one card face down, moving clockwise.
After that, they’ll repeat the process, with each player receiving another card, this time face up.
So, in a $2/$4 5 card stud game, the bring-in is usually $1, the small bet is $2, and the big bet is $4, but more on this in the next section.
The first betting round starts with the bring-in player and continues around the table. Once it completes, the dealer will deal another card face up to all still active players in the hand, followed by another betting round.
The fourth card is then dealt face up, and there is another round of betting, followed by another face-up card and the final betting round.
So, to sum up the dealing part, all players start with two cards, the first face down and the second face up. After that, the remaining three cards are all dealt face up.
5 Card Stud Poker Rules for Betting
In most cases, five card stud is played as a limit game. This means there is a fixed betting structure that players can’t deviate from.
First Round of Betting
The betting starts with the player posting the bring in. They have the option to just post the minimum amount or, if they so choose, they can also complete it, making it the full small bet.
So, in the above example of a $2/$4 game, the bring-in can either post $1, or they can make it full $2 to get the action started.
The next player to act has three options:
Fold – forfeiting their right to win the pot
Call – matching the bet in front of them
Raise – increasing the size of the previous bet, adding an extra unit. So, in this example, if the bring-in makes it $1, they can complete it to $2. If the bring-in makes it $2, they can make it $4.
The action continues around the table, with all players having these options. However, the number of raises is capped at three in most limit games, and 5 card stud is no exception unless players agree specifically to waive this rule.
Completing the bring-in doesn’t count as a raise, so in this example, the action could go something like this:
The bring-in posts $1
The next player to act completes to $2
The player next to act bumps it up to $4 (first raise)
Another player raises to $6 (second raise)
Finally, the last remaining player likes their hand a lot, so they make it $8 (third raise)
With the final raise, the action is capped, which means there can be no more raising. Once the cap is reached, players left to act can only call or fold, after which the dealer will pull all poker chips into the pot and proceed to deal the next street.