OBJECTIVE OF FIVE CARD STUD: To survive the game with the highest hand and win the pot at the final showdown.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-10 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: standard 52-card deck
RANK OF CARDS: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
TYPE OF GAME: Casino/Gambling
HISTORY OF FIVE CARD STUD
Stud poker originated in the 1860s, during the American Civil War. Five card stud poker was the first game of its kind. Previously, all other poker games were “closed,” meaning an individual’s cards were kept secret from other players. Stud poker, however, is “open,” with player’s cards visible on the table. Each player keeps a “hole” card which remains secret until the final showdown. Do to the nature of Stud poker it is easier for players to place more accurate bets according to the strength of cards their opponents have.
THE DEAL & THE PLAY
Before the deal, each player pays the pre-determined ante to the pot.
Deal starts with the player to the left of the dealer.
First, the dealers hand each player one card face down (hole card) and one face up. If you choose to play with a ‘bring in’ bet, the player with the lowest face-up card pays then betting proceeds as normal. Players paying the bring in bet has an option to bet more than the minimum. If there is a tie for low card use suit rankings to break the tie. Suits are commonly ranked in reverse alphabetical order. Clubs < Diamonds < Hearts < Spades
Second Street: After the face-down and face-up cards have been dealt, starting with the player who has the best hand (highest card) and passing clockwise. Players either bet (small amount) or fold. All bets are added to the pot. The player who begins the betting may choose to check if there was not a bring-in bet.
Third Street: Each player remaining (who did not fold in the previous hand) is dealt a second face-up card. The betting begins with the player with the best hand. Pairs (of the highest rank) is the best hand, if no player has a pair the player with the two highest ranking cards begins the betting. Players either bet (small amount) or fold.
Player A has 7-7, player B has 5-5, and player C has Q-9. Player A begins the betting.
Player A has 6-4, player B has Q-2, and player C has Q-J. Player C begins the betting.
Fourth Street: Players are dealt the third face-up card. The player with the highest hand starts the betting. Triples > Pairs > High Cards. Bets from fourth street on are double.
Fifth Street: Players are dealt the last card face-up. Another round of betting ensues, as always starting with the player with the highest hand. Players may bet, raise, and fold. At the end of betting, dealer calls and the showdown begins. The players who remain flip all their cards face-up. The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot. Check out the page Poker Hand Ranking for a fleshed out description of different hands and how they rank.
SIZE OF BETS
Bet size is for players to determine. Five card stud is typically played as a fixed limit game. Here are various bet specifications not covered in the instructions above:
- Small bets and big bets are fixed at the start of the game, for example, $5 and $10 respectively.
- In the case of a bring-in bet, the ante is a very small bet, much smaller than the small bet. For example, it could be $0.65. Bring in bets are typically higher than the ante, perhaps $2.
- The first player to bet can either bet the minimum ($2, the amount of the bring-in bet) or a full small bet ($5)
- If the player who placed the opening bet puts in the minimum ($2) other players must either complete a small bet ($5) or fold. If the opening bet is a complete small bet, players may raise.
- Players are not allowed to place big bets in the first round of betting. Big bets are allowed in the second round if one player (or more) has a pair.
- There may be only one bet and three raises per betting round.
- If you choose to raise, the general rule is that raises are either equal to or greater than the last bet or raise.
Five card stud (and also draw poker) can be played low-card wins, both refer to this variant as Lowball. Low hand rankings can be found on the Poker Hand Ranking page. Casinos commonly use ace-to-5 ranking but, household games usually use ace-to-6.
Five Card Stud High-Low
The same betting and dealing of Five card stud apply. However, even if pairs are showing, there is not an option to place a big bet or raising.
This variant gets its name from the showdown action, both the players with the highest and lowest hands split the pot. If there is an odd amount of money (or chips) the high hand gets the extra dollar/chip. Low hand rankings are used.
Players, typically in home games, may also choose to play with a declaration. After the last bets have been placed, players declare either high or low. It is generally not allowed for players to declare “both” unless they are using ace-to-5 ranking. The player with the highest hand who declared high splits the pot with the lowest hand.