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How to Play 5-Stud Poker?

Stud poker is one of many poker variants that enjoy moderate popularity today, but it was once the prime poker variant. Per the rules of the game, each player gets hidden and visible cards in multiple rounds, and the goal is to outplay the opponents. The most famous stud poker variant is the 5-stud poker variant, where the players get one hidden card and four visible cards by the end of the game. There is also 7-stud poker with similar rules but different hand counts. Our experts prepared the following guide on how to play 5-stud poker and where you can play this exciting poker variant online.

5-Stud Poker Playing Structure & Betting Structure

The game of stud poker starts with dealing with the cards, and the deal begins with the player on the left of the dealer. Each player gets one hidden card, dealt face-down, and one visible or heads-up card. If the game is played in a casino or online casino setting, there is a separate dealer who deals with the cards, but if played in a home setting, any of the players can play the role of the dealer.

It is played with a standard 52-card deck, and the suits rank from spades as the highest, then hearts, diamonds, and clubs as the lowest. In the stud poker games, there are agreed betting limits: the ante, bring in, the small and big bet. The big bet is often double the small bet. During the initial rounds, the raise is the agreed small bet, and in the later rounds, the raise should be the agreed big bet.

5-Stud Poker Playing Structure & Betting Structure

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✅ Ante Bet

The poker game usually starts with the ante bet; it is a compulsory amount that each player puts in the pot before the game begins, which differs from the blind bets in Texas Hold ‘em poker. The ante is usually about 25% of the bet limit on the table. The ante bets are paid by all the players who are participating in the game. After the antes are placed, the dealer starts dealing the hole cards to the players, starting clockwise.

✅ Bring In – First Round of Betting

The betting starts once the two cards are dealt; if the table has a bring-in rule, the player with the lowest card pays the bring-in amount – this is a small bet that is less than the table minimum. The player with the highest-ranking card starts the betting, and the betting continues in a clockwise direction. Like in other poker variants, the players can call, bet, raise, or fold.

✅Third Street – Second Round of Betting

Once the first betting round is complete, the dealer burns a card, and the players get another visible card, again starting with the player who is on the left of the dealer. It is called Third Street, as the players now have three cards: two visible and one hole card. In this round, the player whose visible cards make the best hand makes the first bet, and so on. Per this rule, the player who makes the opening bet in a round changes as the visible cards are dealt. The raise in Third Street should be the amount of the minimum table bet.

✅ Fourth Street – Third Round of Betting

The next round begins when the remaining players get another visible card, and the players have four cards: three visible and one hole card. Again, the player with the best possible hand opens the betting, and the other players can call, raise, or fold. The raise on Fourth Street can be the amount of the maximum table bet.

✅ Fifth Street – Fourth Round of Betting

The last round starts when the fifth card is dealt to the remaining players: they now have four visible and one hole card. Per the 5-stud rules, the player who has the best possible visible hand starts the betting, and the other players can raise or fold. The raise on Fifth Street can be the amount of the maximum table bet.

Full House Poker Hand

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The showdown follows the betting – the action where the remaining players compare their best five-card poker hand. The player who made the last aggressive action shows their card first, and the last player to act can show or muck (return the cards to the pile) their cards. The hands are compared, and the winner is declared. If all players fold, the last remaining player is the winner without a showdown.

Rules of Seven-Card Stud

7-Stud poker is another poker variant where instead of using one hole and four visible cards, the players start with two hole cards and one visible card and, by the end, have three hole cards and four visible cards in their hand. Then, the playing and betting continue per the same rules of 5-stud poker. The Seven-stud poker is the “S” in H.O.R.S.E. mixed game poker tournaments, and here are the rounds:

  • Ante bets: All the players participating in the game place ante bets, and the two hole and the visible card are dealt to each player, one at a time
  • Third Street: This is the opening betting round; the players can check, bet, raise, call, or fold. If the rules of the table require it, then the player with the lowest-ranking card pays the bring-in, and the betting starts in a clockwise direction
  • Fourth Street: The players get a fourth visible card, and the betting continues with the option to bet, call, raise, or fold
  • Fifth Street: The fifth card is dealt; it is a visible card, and the players can bet, call, raise, or fold
  • Sixth Street: the players get a sixth visible card, and the betting continues, where the options are to bet, call, raise, or fold
  • Seventh Street: the remaining players get a seventh face-down card, and the betting round commences. The players can bet or call. Then, the game goes to showdown, where the hands are compared, and the player with the best 5-card hand is the winner.

Who Wins in Stud Poker

The winner in a stud poker game is the player who, during the showdown, shows the best hand and takes the pot. If all other players fold, the player who remains in the game is the automatic winner without having to show their cards. However, because of the nature of the game, the stud poker games rarely get to showdown, as they tend to end in earlier rounds.

Still, here is a table with the poker hand rankings:

Hand name Cards
Royal Flush 10-J-Q-K-A in the same suit
Straight Flush J-10-9-8-7 – five consecutive cards in the same suit
Four of a Kind Four of the same card plus a fifth card
Full House Three cards of one rank and two cards in another rank
Flush Five cards in the same suit, no matter the sequence
Straight Five cards in a sequence, no matter the suit
Three-of-a-Kind Any three cards of the same rank plus two other cards
Two Pair A hand with two distinct pairs plus a fifth card
Pair A hand with a pair of cards and three other cards
High Card A five-card hand that does not fit any of the hands above


How many players can play stud poker?

Four to eight players can usually play stud poker. The 5-stud poker game can support more players because fewer cards are dealt, but the 7-card stud poker game usually limits the number of players to 8 because of the limited number of cards in the deck.

How are the hands ranked in 5-stud poker?

The poker hands are ranked the same in all poker variants, and that includes 5-stud poker. These are royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pair, a pair, and high card. The player with the best possible hand during the showdown wins the pot.

What strategy can I employ to win 5-stud poker?

The best strategy to employ in 5-stud poker is to be patient and smart about your bets. Here are some key things you need to know when playing 5-stud poker and check out our guide for more tips and poker strategies:

  • Try to assess the strength of your hand before placing a bet
  • Don’t take unnecessary risks
  • Don’t rush and plan your time for attack
  • Gauge the visible cards and try to make an educated guess on your opponent’s hand
  • Set a time and budget limit and stick to it
  • Don’t bet more than you can afford to lose
  • Never chase losses

What is the most common winning hand in 5-stud poker?

Statistically speaking, the most common winning hand in poker is two pairs, followed by a pair. It is because of the probability of these hands appearing, as the odds of two pairs are 3.26 to 1, and there are 123,552 possible combinations. The odds of one pair are 1.28 to 1, and there are 1,098,240 possible combinations. On the other hand, there are only 4 possible combinations for a royal flush, with the odds being 30.939 to 1, which is pretty rare.