five card stud rules title

OBJECTIVE OF FIVE CARD STUD RULES: 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




Did you know that 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 you keep your cards secret from other players. Stud poker, however, is “open,” with the player’s cards visible on the table. Each player keeps a “hole” card, which remains secret until the showdown. Due 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.

Below, we will thoroughly explore the Five Card Stud rules and a couple of variations of the standard rules.

If you are new to the game, head over to our beginner’s guide to poker for a detailed breakdown of the game.


Before the deal, each player pays the pre-determined ante to the pot.


Bet size is for players to determine. You typically play Five-card stud as a fixed-limit game, which means that you can only bet certain amounts during the betting rounds. Here are some important betting size specifications for five card stud

  • You will fix small and big bets 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, 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. you may raise, if the opening bet is a complete small bet.
  • You cannot place big bets in the first betting round. You may make big bets in the second round as long as one player has a pair.
  •  You may only bet once and raise three times per betting round.]
  •  If you choose to raise, the general rule is that raises are equal to or greater than the last bet.


The deal starts with the player to the left of the dealer.

First, the dealer will 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 can bet more than the minimum. If there is a tie for a low card, use suit rankings to break the tie. Suits are commonly ranked in reverse alphabetical order. Clubs < Diamonds < Hearts < Spades.




After the face-down and face-up cards have been dealt, the game starts with the player with the best hand (highest card) and passing clockwise. You can either bet (a small amount) or fold. You will add all bets to the pot. The player who begins the betting may choose to check if there was not a bring-in bet.


The dealer will deal a second face-up card for each player remaining (who did not fold in the previous hand). The betting begins with the player with the best hand. Pairs (of the highest rank) are the best hand; if no player has a pair, the player with the two highest-ranking cards begins the betting. Players either bet (a small amount) or fold.


Player A has 7-7, player B has 5-5, and player C has Q-9. They will begin the betting.

Player A has 6-4, player B has Q-2, and player C has Q-J. Player C begins the betting.


The dealer will deal you the third face-up card. The player with the highest hand starts the betting. Triples > Pairs > High Cards. Bets from the fourth street and on are double.


The dealer will deal players the last card face-up. As always, another round of betting ensues, starting with the player with the highest hand. Players may bet, raise, and fold. The dealer calls at the end of betting, 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.


Five Card stud rules hand ranking

The hand ranking for Five Card Stud is the same as traditional poker hand rankings. The highest-ranked hand you can make is the royal flush. This is a hand of all of the same suit in ranking order, which includes the King, Queen, and Jack.

The next highest-hand rank is the straight flush. This is a hand that is all the same in ranking order.

The four-of-a-kind is the next highest. This hand includes four cards of the same rank.

A full house ranks next and comprises a pair and a three-of-a-kind.

Flush ranks next in line and comprises a hand of cards in the same suit.

A straight is a hand made of cards in ranking order. They do not have to be in the same suit.

Three-of-a-kind means that the hand has three cards of the same rank. The higher the rank of the cards, the better the hand is.

Two pairs means you have two pairs of two cards of the same rank. The higher the rank of the pair, the better the hand is.

A pair is a low-ranking hand made of a single pair of cards. The higher the ranking of the pair, the better the hand is.

The high card is the lowest-ranked hand. This hand means you win by having the highest-ranked card.


The final hand of Five Card Stud is called the showdown. Every remaining player who has not folded participates in the showdown. You will flip all your cards and determine between the players with the highest-ranked hand. That player is the winner of the hand. They will collect their winnings, and a new hand can begin.

If you enjoy Five Card Stud, there are many other card games! Try English Stud or Baseball Poker for your next game. Another great poker variation to try is Horse Poker or Let It Ride, a variation of Five Card Stud.


Above we discussed the rules of Five Card Stud, but below we have two popular variations for the standard rules. These are popular poker variations and can be used in other poker games as well.


You can play the Five Card Stud rules (and draw poker) with low-card wins; both refer to this variant as Lowball. You can find the Low-hand rankings on the Poker Hand Ranking page. Casinos commonly use ace-to-5 ranking, but casual games usually use ace-to-6.

Five Card Stud High-Low

The same betting and dealing of Five Card Stud rules apply. However, even if pairs are showing, placing a big bet or raise is impossible.

This variant gets its name from the showdown action; 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. You will use Low-hand rankings.

Players, typically in home games, may also play with a declaration. Players declare either high or low after they make their last bet. You cannot declare “both” unless you use ace-to-5 ranking—the player with the highest hand who declared high splits the pot with the lowest hand.

Amber Crook
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