How to Play 5 Card Stud | Poker Rules
5 Card Stud plays much like its cousin, 7 Card Stud, but players are dealt a total of five cards instead of seven.
A game of 5 Card Stud involves antes, a bring-in, and a limit betting structure. For more on how limit rules work, check out our guide to Poker Betting Rules.
Other than a difference in the number of face-down cards and total cards dealt, the game plays identical to 7 Card Stud. Here’s a look at an example of a 5 Card Stud hand.
5 Card Draw Rules
Antes and the Bring-in
Most stud games use a structure involving antes and a bring-in. The small blind/big blind system used in games like Texas Hold'em isn't used in 5 Card Stud.
For this example, let's say we're watching a 5 Card Stud game played at $5/$10 limits, with six players at the table. At $5/$10 limits, each player might put in an ante of $0.50 before the hand. Any amount can be used for the ante, but it's generally a small fraction of the small bet.
After the antes are posted, each player is dealt two cards, one face down and one face-up.
The dealer begins with the player on his/her immediate left, and deals all players a face-down card, moving clockwise around the table.
The second card dealt to all players is a face-up card, known as the door card.
The player with the lowest-ranking door card (from deuce to ace) must post the bring-in. The bring-in is usually half of the small bet, which is $5 in our $5/$10 game. So the bring-in for this game is $2.50.
Initial Betting Round
The player with the lowest-ranking door card is obligated to post the bring-in, but this player can also choose to complete, betting the full amount of the small bet ($5 in this game).
After the first-to-act player either posts the bring-in or completes, the next player on the immediate left has the option to either call (match the bet), raise, or fold.
This option of call, raise, or fold goes clockwise around the table until each player has had an opportunity to act. In the first betting round, all raises must be $5 (the small bet). The maximum number of total raises is capped at three, and at that point subsequent players can only call.
So for example, let's say the bring-in is posted, and the next players completes to $5. The next player raises to $10, the next to $15, and the next to $20.
At this point, other players can only call the $20 bet, as the raises are capped after that.
After all players have acted in the initial betting round, the dealer deals another card, face-up, to all players still in the hand. The player with the best face-up hand showing starts the betting round, and can either check (put no money in the pot and pass the action to the next player), or bet $5 (the small bet). If this player has a pair showing, they can bet $10 (the big bet).
Subsequent betting commences clockwise around the table, and all players left in the hand can either check (if no one has bet or raised), bet (if the player before them checked), raise, or fold. Raises are again capped at three, meaning the max bet on third street is either $20 or $40 depending on whether the small or big bet started the round.
The process repeats itself after third street is dealt, with all remaining players dealt another face-up card. This fourth card is appropriately called fourth street.
Another betting round takes place, and this time the big bet is always used as the opening bet size. Once again, the player showing the best hand can either check or bet, and all subsequent players can either check (if checked to), bet, or raise.
After fourth street, a final face-up card is dealt to each player. This card, known as fifth street, precedes the final betting round. Once again using the big bet as the opening size, the action starts with the player showing the best hand, then clockwise around the table.
If on any street a player bets or raises, and all other players fold, the player who bet or raised wins the hand, without a showdown.
If two or more players make it through fifth street without folding, a showdown commences, and each player reveals their hole card. The player with the best five-card hand, according to poker hand rankings, wins.
Let's see what that face down card was throughout the article:
This player has a pair of aces, which is a fairly strong hand in 5 Card Stud. As you might expect, five-card poker hands like flushes and straights are very rare in 5 Card Draw.