How to Play 5 Card Poker | Live Poker | LeoVegas

How to play 5 card stud poker

5 card stud poker is one of the many variations of the game of poker, it falls into an interesting place where players may come across the game as it’s slightly different to the other poker variants, and have likely heard of it, but are uncertain of how to play 5 card poker.

Here is our in-depth guide to how to play 5 card stud poker, helping readers lift the veil on this interesting game.

What is 5 card stud poker?

5 card stud is not a world away from hold’em games, but that’s true of many versions of poker. The skills developed in one format can easily be translated into another. So, learning how to play poker 5 card stud isn’t going to pull a player in an entirely new direction.

One of the main differences is that there’s no big or small blind like in Texas hold’em. Instead, all players chip in with their ante, which produces the pot for the hand. No community cards are used either.

Also, 5 card stud should not be confused with 5 card draw, in which all the cards are dealt face down, and players can replace their cards.

[Stud games(/game/casino-stud-poker) are different from other forms of live poker, but arguably it is a little easier to learn how to play 5 card poker.

Rules of 5 card stud

The learning curve of how to play 5 card poker is not all that steep. There’s a nice uncomplicated flow to the game as it develops.

Here are the basic rules of how to play 5 card poker.

The ante

All players buy into the hand by putting up the ante, which is typically small compared to the game’s limits. In stud poker, there are betting lights for each street, depicted as something like £5/£10.

First cards

After the ante, two cards are dealt to each player, one face down and the other face up. The face-down card is called the ‘hole’ and the face-up one is called the ‘door’. Whichever player has the lowest value ‘door’ starts the betting.

First round of betting

The player with the lowest ‘door’ has to post what is called a ‘bring in’ bet, commonly half of the small bet limit. Assuming that the game has a £5/£10 limit, the ‘bring in’ bet would be £2.50.

The ‘bring in’ bet doesn’t have to be half; it can be the complete minimum small bet value. However, if it is half, then any subsequent player can ‘complete’ by increasing the betting to the amount of the small bet. Like all poker games, play goes clockwise.

Continuing play

Following the ‘bring in’, the next step of how to play 5 card poker involves familiar options. A player will either call (matching the bet), raise or fold. If a player wants to raise in the first round, it must be at the value of the small bet – in this instance, £5.

From there, the next player would raise to £10 and so on. Only three raises can happen during the first round. On the £5/£10 table, the maximum raise is therefore £20. Play continues until all players have declared their option.

Third street

Once the first round of betting is over, everyone gets another face-up card in what is called the third street. Whoever has the current best face-up hand on the table then starts the round of betting, which now includes the check option (passing on the play) or betting the small minimum. The big bet value can be played if a player has a face-up pair. Play continues again, with the option to check (if no one has bet or raised), bet (if the previous player checked), raise or fold.

Fourth street

The same process happens again as the dealer issues all players a fourth card (face up). The only difference for this round is that the big bet value must be used to open.

Fifth street

The last card dealt, the fifth in each player’s hand, also needs the big bet for the opening value. If there are at least two players still in the game at the fifth street, then a showdown happens.

Hole card showdown

After the round of betting on fifth street, the remaining players have to reveal their face-down hole card. Whoever has the best-ranked hand wins.


If on any of the streets, a player bets or raises, and everyone else in the round folds, that player wins unopposed.

Hands that can be seen in 5 card poker

Because players only have five cards, common poker hands such as straights and flushes don’t come up that often. Here are the ranking hands you need to know for how to play poker 5 card:

Royal flush – The top hand, a run of ace, king, queen, jack and 10. Straight flush – Only beaten by a royal flush, the straight flush is five sequential cards of the same suit. An ace can be high or low. Four of a kind – Four of the same value cards, such as all sixes. Full House – Three cards of one value, and the other two of another value, such as three fives and two queens. Flush – A collection of five cards of the same suit not in any sequential order. Straight – Five cards from any suit that run sequentially, with the ace high or low. Three of a kind – Three cards of the same value, with the other two not of the same value. Two pairs – Two pairs of different values. Pair – One pair of different value. High card – The highest-value card in a player’s hand, such as a king high or an ace high. Spades are usually the highest-ranked suit, followed by hearts, diamonds and then clubs.

5 card poker strategies

If you look at 5 card poker, how to play it beyond the basic rules is down to the individual. Most poker players have pre-planned strategies they will employ. This helps a lot, as in any given circumstance, they will know exactly what to do. It also helps to cut out emotional plays.

5 card poker – how to play the fold

Typically, unless there is at least a pair showing after two up cards, it’s time to get out of the hand. This is because with only five cards in play, statistically a straight or a flush is a long shot.

Watch the other up cards

Use what’s on the table to help gauge your odds. If you need a seven for three of a kind, but one of the others is out there in play, you are not in a strong position to get what you need.

Watch what’s mucked

The same can be said of any up cards that have been mucked from folding players. Try to remember what was in there to help gauge the strength of your hand.

Opening ‘up’ card

If you can’t beat the up card of at least one other player in the first round of betting, it’s worth considering folding. You want at least a shot of beating a competing pair to proceed with the hand.

5 card poker – how to play early rounds

A couple of unconnected high cards isn’t a bad position for the third street, for example, with the potential for a high pair still out there.

In contrast, unconnected low cards offer little. However, low pairs can still work if they are beating other situations at the table, and if none of the remaining cards are exposed among other players’ up cards.


Bluffing through aggressive play is a big part of how to play 5 card stud, and it’s quite effective because of the low number of cards. With limited opportunities to improve the strength of a hand on subsequent streets, aggressive bluffing can often force players to fold.

5 card poker FAQS

What are the rules of 5 card stud?

The rules of 5 card stud are fairly simple. Take a look at the basic ‘5 card poker how to play’ section with the rules above to get a good grounding.

Is 5 card stud the same as Texas hold’em?

No. It’s different in that there are no big and small blinds, no community cards, and players have their individual hole card until the showdown.

Why is it called 5 card stud?

The ‘stud’ part of the name allegedly comes from a gambler from many years ago who used his stud horse as a stake when he was out of money in a game of draw poker but held a great hand.

Where did 5 card stud come from?

The origins of the game are said to have come from the American Civil War. It is a variation of 5 card draw.

How do you win 5 card stud poker?

There are two ways to win in 5 card stud poker. Either every player folds, leaving you to collect the pot, or you have the highest-value hand and come to the showdown at the end of fifth street betting.