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5 Card Stud Poker

: Game Rules & Strategy
Object: The object of 5 Card Stud is to have the highest five-card poker hand at showdown, or to be the only player remaining in the hand after all other players have folded.

Hand Rankings: Hand rankings are as follows, with the highest hands first:

Hand Ranking Description Example
Royal Flush 5 suited cards in sequence, topped with the ace. For example, a Royal Flush in Spades. a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card
Straight Flush 5 suited cards in sequence. For example, an Eight-high Straight Flush in Diamonds. a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card
Four of a kind 4 cards of the same rank. For example, four Queens. a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card
Full house 3 cards of the same rank, plus 2 cards of the same rank. For example, a full house with 3 aces and 2 fives is a Full House, Aces full of Fives. a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card
Flush 5 cards of the same suit, not all of which are in sequence. For example, a King-high Diamond Flush. a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card
Straight 5 cards in sequence, not all of which are the same suit. For example, a Ten-high Straight. a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card
Three of a kind 3 cards of the same rank. For example, three Queens. a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card
Two pair 2 different occurrences of 2 cards of the same rank. For example, Two Pair -- Jacks and Nines. a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card
One Pair 2 cards of the same rank. For example, a pair of Queens. a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card
High Card Cards all of which are different ranks and are not all the same suit. For example, Ace High. a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card a playing card

If two or more hands are the same ranking, the winner is the one having the higher cards. For example, a Flush with an Ace high beats a Flush with a King high. If the poker hands remain tied, then the highest card not being held in common (the kicker) determines the winner.

Should poker hands be absolutely identical in ranking, the pot will be split evenly between the two or more winning players. If there is an odd chip, then either the winning player to the left of the button will receive it, or the odd chip will remain in the pot for the next hand (depending on the card room).

The Play of the Game: The play of the game proceeds as follows:

  1. All players ante
  2. Each player is dealt one card face-down (hole card) and one card face-up (door card)
  3. First betting round
  4. Each player is dealt one card face-up (3rd street)
  5. Second betting round
  6. Each player is dealt another card face-up (4th street)
  7. Third betting round
  8. Each player is dealt a last card face-up (river)
  9. Final betting round
  10. Showdown

Betting Structure and Rules

All players must first ante before they receive their initial cards.

On the first round of betting, the low card by suit is required to initiate action with a bet equal to half the lower limit (bring-in). Suits are ranked: spades (highest), hearts, diamonds, clubs. On subsequent rounds, the high hand on board initiates betting action. If hands are tied, the player to the left of the dealer acts first. In all cases, the dealer will inform the players as to who acts first.

Each bet and raise during the first two rounds of betting is set at the lower limit of the stakes structure. For example in a $4/$8 game, all bets and raises are $4 for the first two rounds. The exception to this rule is if any player displays a pair with their 2 face-up cards after the third street is dealt. In this circumstance, all players have the option to bet either the lower limit or the higher limit. If a player bets the higher limit, then all subsequent raises must be made at the higher limit.

Each bet and raise during the last two rounds of betting is set at the higher limit of the stakes structure. For example in a $4/$8 game, all bets and raises are $8 for the last two rounds (fourth card and the river).

The maximum allowable number of bets per player during any particular betting round is four. This would consist of (1) a bet, (2) a raise, (3) a re-raise, and (4) a cap. The term cap is used to describe the 3rd raise in a round since betting is then capped and can not be raised anymore. Once the pot is capped, players will have only the option of calling or folding.

Check-raising is (usually) allowed.

Strategy

Here are some basic tips.

  • Know at least some of the odds of making your draws. For example, the odds of drawing the 5th card to your 4-card straight is approximately either 7 to 1 (if you can make either end of the 4-card straight) or 11 to 1 (if there is only one card that fills your straight).
  • Only play at stakes that you are comfortable playing.
  • Don't chase hands. If you consistently call three bets with only an Ace after fourth street, you're going to lose in the long run.
  • Playing at the free sites like Yahoo Games and MSN Games will not help you learn to master this game; players at those sites are just pushing chips around, and stay to the end on every hand because they have nothing invested in the game.

Read, read, read! Then practice, practice, practice! Then, win, win win! :)

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