Five card stud rules – how to play five card stud

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor


Hey there! Let’s dive into the exciting world of Five Card Stud and learn all about the rules of this thrilling card game.

In Five Card Stud, each player is dealt five cards, and the goal is to have the best hand at the end of the game. Here’s a breakdown of how the game unfolds:

1. Ante up: Before the game begins, all players must contribute a small amount of money called an “ante.” This creates the pot, which is the prize everyone is competing for.

2. The deal: Once the antes are collected, the dealer shuffles the deck and deals each player one card face down and one card face up. The player with the lowest face-up card starts the betting.

3. The bring-in: After the first two cards are dealt, the player with the lowest face-up card must make a mandatory bet called the “bring-in.” The amount of the bring-in varies depending on the game’s limit.

4. The betting rounds: Starting with the player to the left of the bring-in, each player must decide whether to fold, call, or raise. This decision is based on their hand strength and their confidence in winning the pot.

5. The fourth street: After the first round of betting, the dealer deals each player another card face up. This is known as the “fourth street” or the “turn.” Another betting round begins, starting with the player with the highest hand showing.

6. The fifth street: Following the fourth street, the dealer deals each player one final card face up. This is called the “fifth street” or the “river.” The final round of betting takes place, again starting with the player with the highest hand showing.

7. The showdown: If more than one player remains after the final round of betting, a showdown occurs. Each player reveals their hand, starting with the last player to bet or raise. The player with the highest-ranking hand wins the pot.

It’s important to note that if a player makes a bet or raise and no other player chooses to call, that player wins the pot without having to reveal their hand.

And that’s it! Now you have a good understanding of the rules of Five Card Stud. Grab a deck of cards, gather some friends, and enjoy this classic and exciting card game. Good luck!

Hey, did you know that Stud poker was actually born during the American Civil War, way back in the 1860s? It’s true! This game was a real game-changer because, unlike other poker games at the time, it was “open,” meaning you had to show your cards to everyone at the table. Pretty cool, right?

So, here’s how it works: each player is dealt a set of cards, with one card being kept hidden from the others. This hidden card is called the “hole” card and adds an extra layer of excitement to the game. It’s like a secret weapon, known only to you until the big showdown!

Now, because you can see some of your opponents’ cards, you can make more informed bets. You can measure their strength and gauge their possible moves. It’s all about strategy!

But wait! Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s be sure you’re familiar with the basics of poker. If you’re new to the game, check out our beginner’s guide to poker for a detailed breakdown. It’ll get you up to speed in no time!


Before we get started, there’s one important thing to do: each player needs to put in their ante. This is a small bet that goes into the pot, making the game more interesting right from the start. It’s like your ticket to the poker party!


When it’s time to place your bets, the decision is in your hands. In the game of Five-card stud, we usually stick to fixed-limit rules, which means there are specific amounts you can bet during each round. Let’s dive into the essential details about bet sizes in five card stud:

  • At the beginning of the game, you’ll establish the small bet and big bet amounts. For instance, you might set them at $5 and $10, respectively.
  • Now, let’s talk about the bring-in bet. This is a very small bet, even smaller than the small bet. Picture it like a tiny ante to get things started. As an example, it could be as low as $0.65. On the other hand, bring-in bets usually go a bit higher, around $2.
  • When it comes to the first player to make a move, he or she can either go for the minimum bet, which matches the bring-in ($2), or opt for a full small bet, which is $5.
  • In Five Card Stud, if I place the first bet with the minimum ($2), you have two options: either complete a small bet of $5 or fold.
  • In the first round of betting, I cannot make big bets. But in the second round, I can make big bets as long as one player has a pair.
  • You are allowed to bet once and raise up to three times per betting round.
  • If you decide to raise, remember that the general rule is to raise equal to or more than the last bet.


I will begin dealing in Five Card Stud with the player on my left.

So here’s what happens: first, the dealer gives each of us a card face down – that’s our secret card. Then, we get another card, this time face up for everyone to see. Now, if you want to make things more interesting, you can place a ‘bring in’ bet. The player with the lowest face-up card will have to pay the bet, and then we can start betting like we normally would.

Now, don’t worry if you want to be a little more daring and bet more than the minimum. That’s totally fine! But what if two players have the same lower card? Well, that’s when things get a little tricky. We’re gonna use the rankings of the suits to break the tie. Keep in mind that the suits are ranked in reverse alphabetical order, with Clubs being the lowest, then Diamonds, Hearts, and finally Spades.


Five card stud rules - how to play five card stud

Welcome to Second Street

Once the face-down and face-up cards have been dealt, we’re ready to start the game. The player with the highest card will kick things off, and from there, we’ll go clockwise. Now, you’ve got a choice – you can either bet a small amount or fold. Don’t forget, all bets will go into the pot. Oh, and if there wasn’t a bring-in bet, the starting player can also choose to check.

Time for Third Street

Now that we’re in the swing of things, the dealer will hand out a second face-up card to all the players who are still in the game (those who didn’t fold in the previous round). This time, the betting action starts with the player who has the best hand. If someone has a pair, they’re in luck because that’s the best hand you can get. If no one has a pair, the player with the two highest-ranking cards gets things rolling. Once again, you’ll have the option to bet or fold.

Let’s take a look at an example. Player A has a pair of sevens (7-7), while player B has a pair of fives (5-5), and player C has a queen and a nine (Q-9). Now, it’s time to kick off the betting round!

Imagine a game of poker. There are three players: A, B, and C. Player A has a 6 of hearts and a 4 of diamonds. Player B has a Queen of clubs and a 2 of spades. Player C has a Queen of diamonds and a Jack of hearts. It’s Player C’s turn to start the betting.

Let’s move on to the fourth street.

The dealer will now give you the third card, which you’ll see face-up. The player with the highest hand will start the betting, so pay attention to your cards. Remember, triples beat pairs, and pairs beat high cards. From this street onwards, the bets will be doubled, so think carefully before placing your bets.

Now, let’s talk about the fifth street.

This is where the dealer will give everyone their last card, face-up. Just like before, there will be another round of betting, starting with the player who has the highest hand. You have the option to bet, raise, or fold. At the end of the betting, the dealer will make the final call, and the showdown will begin. All the remaining players will reveal their cards, and the player with the best five-card hand will win the pot.

Here’s a quick guide to the hand rankings in Five Card Stud:

Five card stud rules - how to play five card stud

When it comes to Five Card Stud, understanding the hand rankings is crucial. It’s important to know how each hand ranks against the others, and what cards you need to make the best hand possible.

The best possible hand in Five Card Stud is called a royal flush. This hand consists of five cards of the same suit in consecutive ranking order, from 10 to Ace. It’s a rare and powerful hand that can almost guarantee victory.

Next up is the straight flush. Just like the royal flush, this hand consists of five cards in consecutive ranking order, but they don’t have to be the top cards of the deck. As long as they’re of the same suit, you have a straight flush.

The four-of-a-kind is a hand that can quickly turn the tides in your favor. It consists of four cards of the same rank, such as four Aces or four Jacks. If you have this hand, you’re in a very strong position.

Another strong hand is the full house. It’s a combination of a pair and a three-of-a-kind. For example, if you have two Queens and three Kings, you have a full house. It’s not as strong as the four-of-a-kind, but it’s still a hand to be reckoned with.

The flush is a hand that consists of five cards of the same suit, but they don’t have to be in consecutive order. As long as they’re all hearts, clubs, diamonds, or spades, you have a flush. It’s not the highest-ranking hand, but it can still win you a lot of rounds.

Finally, we have the straight. This hand consists of five cards in consecutive ranking order, just like the straight flush. However, the cards in a straight don’t have to be of the same suit. It’s a decent hand, but it can be easily beaten by the higher-ranking hands mentioned earlier.

In poker, a “three-of-a-kind” hand consists of three cards of the same rank. The better the rank of the cards, the stronger the hand. It’s like having three friends who are all the same. The higher their status, the more influential they are.

A “two pairs” hand means you have two pairs of cards with the same rank. It’s like having two sets of friends who are all pairs. The higher the rank of the pair, the stronger the hand. It’s like having two sets of friends, with one set being more important than the other.

A “pair” is a low-ranking hand made up of just one pair of cards. It’s like having a pair of friends who stand out from the rest. The higher the rank of the pair, the stronger the hand. It’s like having a really important friend who is better than all the others.

The “high card” is the lowest-ranked hand. This hand means you win by having the highest-ranked card. It’s like winning a game because you have the best card. The card with the highest value is the leader of the pack.

And that’s the end of the game! It’s all about understanding the different types of hands and how they compare in strength. Like having a group of friends, each hand has its own value and importance. So, the better the hand, the better your chances of winning. It’s about striking the right balance and making the most of what you have.

When it’s time for the final hand in Five Card Stud, we call it the showdown. This is where all the players who haven’t folded show their cards. We’ll flip them over and see who has the best hand. The player with the highest-ranked hand is the winner. They get to collect their winnings and we can start a new hand.

If you love playing Five Card Stud, there are plenty of other card games for you to try! Give English Stud or Baseball Poker a shot in your next game. And if you’re looking for something different, Horse Poker or Let It Ride are exciting variations of Five Card Stud.


We’ve covered the rules of Five Card Stud, but now let’s talk about a couple of popular variations that you can use in other poker games as well.


Hey there! Have you ever heard of a cool poker variant called Lowball? It’s basically Five Card Stud, but with a twist – the lowest hand wins! To make things easier, you can refer to the Poker Hand Ranking page to see how the low hands are ranked.

Time for Some High-Low Action!

So, the rules for Five Card Stud still apply in this game. The betting and dealing work just the same. But here’s the catch – even if you have pairs showing, you can’t bet big or raise the stakes.

Now comes the fun part! This variant is called High-Low because at the showdown, the player with the highest hand AND the player with the lowest hand both get a piece of the pie. If there’s an odd amount of money or chips, the high hand gets the extra dollar or chip. It’s important to use the Low-hand rankings to determine the winner.

In home games, players have the option to play with a declaration. After placing their final bet, players declare whether they have a high or low hand. You can only declare “both” if you are using an ace-to-5 ranking system. In this case, the player with the highest hand who declared high will split the pot with the player who has the lowest hand.

Let me introduce myself – I’m Amber (They/Them) and I’m a writer and gaming enthusiast from Austin. I consider myself a gaming master and I have a deep love for dogs, plants, and Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).

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