Five Card Stud Poker

Joseph MacNaughton

Five Card Stud: Not the Most Popular Variation of the Game, but the Perfect Introduction for players New to Poker

Five Card Stud was the first and earliest version of stud poker. It was invented in America during the American Civil war and is a much more uncommon game today with Seven-card stud and community games like Hold'Em and Omaha taking the limelight.

The popularity of Five card stud has steadily eroded over the years and gradually replaced with seven card stud as the expanded stud variation allows for more rounds of betting. It is challenging to find somewhere to play five card stud, and as a general rule, there is not much action for this version to be seen.

Richard Nixon had stated before he was president he used to frequently play five card stud when serving the Navy during World War 2. Nixon also claimed he once got a Royal Flush in a five card stud game and won a huge pot! One of his crewmates had said he saw him bluff a lieutenant out of $1,500 which at the time was a significant sum of money.

Five card stud was featured in the famous film Cincinnati Kid, released in 1965 and based on the book Cincinnati Kid by Richard Jessup. While it was a very entertaining movie to watch, the hands that appeared at the end were so unlikely, that the odds of occurring were in the millions.

Game Rules and How to Play

The rules of five card stud are simple. Players will get dealt up to 5 cards and will try to make the best five card poker hand.

Poker Rankings Table

POSITION

Hand

Description

Example

1ST

Royal Flush

Top five cards in sequence in the same suit

A♥+K♥+Q♥+J♥+10♥

2ND

Straight Flush

Any five cards in sequence in the same suit

3♣+4♣+5♣+6♣+7♣

3RD

4 of a Kind

Four identical cards of any value

J♣+J♦+J♠+J♥+K♥

4TH

Full House

Three of a Kind + A pair

7♥+7♦+7♠+A♠+A♣

5TH

Flush

Any five cards the same suite

A♣+7♣+4♣+3♣+10♣

6TH

Straight

Five cards of any suit in number sequence

8♥+9♦+10♦+J♥+Q♣

7TH

3 of a Kind

Three cards of the same value any suit

A♣+A♦+A♠+4♠+J♦

8TH

Pair

Two cards of same value any suit

K♦+K♥+2♥+7♣+10♦

9TH

High Card

The highest value card in hand where A is Highest

A♦+7♦+4♣+Q♣+9♦

 

The game is played using a fixed limit betting format, meaning at every stage of the hand you will have a set amount of chips you are allowed to bet or raise. Before cards are dealt, each player will be forced to post an ante. An ante is just a small amount of money every player puts in before each hand. Every player is then dealt one card face up and one card face down.

The player showing the lowest ranking face-up card will be forced to put in another amount of money called the 'bring-in'. This action is mandatory and will be a small amount that will usually be higher than the ante.

Action will go around clockwise, and players will have the opportunity to call, raise or fold. Calling the 'bring-in' will mean putting an equal amount of chips to the 'bring-in'. Raising will be raising two times the amount of the 'bring-in'. Folding will be throwing your hand away.

After this first round of betting is complete, the players who have not folded will be dealt a third card face up. Another round of betting will start with the person with the two highest ranking face-up cards continuing with the action clockwise. This player may bet a fixed amount or check. If they choose to bet, they must place the smaller fixed betting size in the pot. Checking is a neutral act and is the same as passing the action to the next player.

Another card is dealt face up, and another round of betting will commence with the player with the three highest ranking face-up cards and continue clockwise. From this point onwards, if they choose to wager, they must bet the bigger fixed limit bet size.

After completion of this betting round, a fifth and final card is dealt face up, and there will be one more round of betting. All players who have not folded will now need to turn over their face down to reveal their five-card poker hand.

The player who has the five card poker hand with the highest rank will win all the chips in the middle. If at any time you are the only player who has not folded you are instantly awarded all the entire pot.

Some variants of five card stud will have the last card dealt face down, but most of the time in classic five-card stud the final card is dealt face up.

Basic Strategy Tips for Beginners New to Five Card Stud Poker

Five card stud is called a pure game of poker where you are only trying to work out 1 of your opponent's cards because you can see every other card as they are face up. Because you can see almost all the cards, this can significantly help your decision making. Seeing that your opponents have pairs or better while you do not have an equal or stronger hand makes your decision easy and you can throw away your hand earlier and not bleed chips chasing a big hand.

Your opponents can also see all of your cards except one. You can use this to your advantage. If your hand appears strong, while your facedown card does not complete a strong hand, you can act aggressively by betting and raising to represent a strong hand to your opponents. For example, you have four cards showing hearts, but your face down card does not complete the flush.

Observe your opponents. Some of your opponents are going to play many hands aggressively, and you should play with caution. They are trying to play aggressively and win a lot of pots, and its possible get caught when they aggressively play a strong hand. Try to observe how often they are playing aggressively with weak hands compared to strong hands.

Pairs or a face-down Ace are the most powerful starting hands. This is where the phrase Ace in the hole originates. With an Ace, you always have the potential to form the best hand. You want to bet and raise these hands on the first round of betting as your hand is going to be ahead of your opponents the majority of the time.

Like most forms of poker, the act of slow playing your strong hands is not going to be good. If the opposing players suspect you of having a good hand they may not bet. You should bet and raise your strong hands and mix in some bluffs that look like a solid hand.

Bluffing can help you get called more often. If you are a player who never appears to make bluffs and folds a lot, people will call you less frequently. Bet mostly strong hands and mix in a few bluffs that look strong. This is what's called being balanced. You aren't bluffing too much, and you're not bluffing too little.

Things to Keep in Mind when sat at the table of a Five Card Stud Game

Five card stud is one of the most classic forms of poker. It is also the first variation of the game that has the majority of the cards face up. Older forms of poker such as five card draw had all the cards hidden until the end. This game is generally not easy to find online or offline. Currently, it can be found on a few online sites in Europe, but very little action is available around these tables.

Once you do find a game, it is important to remember the object of this game is trying to figure out what your opponent's face-down card is. You also need to represent your face down card in the most advantageous way.

Practice makes perfect, and five card stud is no different. There aren't many strategy articles and guides to five card stud as the game hasn't been popular for a very long time. The best way to learn this game is by playing it and forming your own theories and strategies and see what works and what doesn't work.

Five-card stud can make the perfect introduction to poker for new players If you can find it. The rules are straightforward, you are only trying to figure out one card, and this, in turn, helps you to learn how to read your opponents. 

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