Five Card Stud Rules

Five card stud has been around for a long time, but it’s not as popular today as it once was. You will rarely, if ever, find it at a live casino, but you will still occasionally run across it at casual home games and at online casinos.

Five card stud is an easy game to learn, but it’s limited by its own structure. Each player is dealt five cards, and whoever ends up with the best hand wins the pot. Big hands are rare so the game is often criticized as being too slow for today’s Hold'em-influenced poker public.

Another problem with five card stud is that four out of five of each player’s cards are dealt face-up. With so many cards exposed, there’s not much you can do to hide your cards or get people to call you with worse hands. It doesn’t take much for even the most novice of players to catch on and become somewhat proficient at the game.

To combat this problem, some home games deal the last card face down so that each player ends up with three cards face up and two cards face down. This adds a little mystery and strategy to the game, but big hands are still few and far between.

Antes and Deal

Each hand begins with each player paying a small, forced bet called the “ante.” The size of the ante varies from game to game, but they are usually equal to about 10% the size of the lower betting limit.

The dealer then gives each player two cards; one face down and one face up.

The Bring-In and First Betting Round

The player with the lowest card showing must start the betting by paying the “bring-in.” The bring-in is a forced bet that’s equal to about half the size of the minimum bet. For example, in a $2/$4 game, the bring-in would be $1.

The player who pays the bring-in may leave it at that amount, or raise the bet up to the minimum betting limit. If that player chooses to leave it at that amount, each other player may also call for that amount even though it’s less than the small bet.

After the bring-in has been made, the betting action continues clockwise around the table. Each player has the option of calling, folding, or raising. The betting continues until all the bets have been matched.

Third Street

The dealer gives each player one more face up card. Another round of betting begins, but this time it starts with the player who has the highest card showing. From here on out, all bets are made in increments of the upper betting limit.

Fourth Street

Each player receives one more card face up and there is another round of betting identical to the last round.

Fifth Street

Each player receives one last card face up, and there is one more round of betting identical to the previous round.

At this point, each player should have one card face down and four cards face up.


Any players remaining in the hand after the last betting round reveal their hands. The best 5 card poker hand wins the pot.

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