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5-Card Stud – The Classic Stud Poker

Five-Card Stud is the second form of the classic Poker (the first one is Poker Draw). The more popular Poker variations such as Seven-Card Stud and especially Texas Hold'em Poker originated from it.

Unlike Poker Draw, in 5-Card-Stud the cards are not traded and players are dealt only one card face down. The remaining cards are dealt face up, so each player can see the cards of their opponents. Thus it is also visible who has theoretically the best hand during the game.

In Five-Card Stud Poker each player is dealt two cards – one is face down, the other one face up. After the initial round of betting the remaining three cards are dealt in successive steps with a round of betting after each new card (see the illustration below). So a nice sum of money can occur in the pot. Of course if any player before you bets or raises you have to either call or re-raise to stay in the game.

» 1st round of betting » » 2nd » » 3rd » » 4th

There is a special rule in 5-Card Stud as regards betting. The player who has the strongest visible hand starts betting, not a player at the dealer's left like in Poker Draw. The order of betting can change after a new card.

If a player with a Queen (highest visible card) started betting in the first round and other player was dealt a King or an Ace in the second round, then the right to bet first in this round would come over to him or her. If any player managed to create One Pair in the third round, then the right to start betting would come to him or her again etc.

How and When to Bet in Five-Card Stud?

The key to success in Five-Card Stud is to start a game with a better card. If you have a good first card, you cannot hide it. Generally it can be said that bets can be opened by an Ace with any other card, while it is clear that if another Ace appeared in the game (on the table), then this hand would be weaker, because there would be lower probability to get another Ace.

A combination of two high cards – K, Q, J and 10 or a high pair – is also a nice hand to open. When having a low pair it is necessary to watch high cards of the opponents and it is reasonable to fold if they seem to have a stronger pair.

The place at the table in Five-Card Stud is as important as in other variations of Poker. If a player next to you is dealt a higher card than yours, your bets should be careful even if you hold a pair. On the other hand if you bet the last, you may try to continue even with a lower pair or a weak straight.

Counting Chances to Improve Your Hand

A good player should always know, whether it is worth risking. Again money to pot ratio rule can be applied here. Money in the pot should correspond to the winning chances. Seeing that the cards are dealt in sequence by one, the chance of improving one's hand can be counted quite easily.

Counting Cards in Five-Card Stud

Imagine a situation after the deal of two cards at the table with five players (including you). You are dealt an Ace and a King. What is the chance to improve your hand? The improvement means that you will create a pair by getting another Ace or King.

There are three more Aces and Kings left in the deck assuming they have not yet appeared on the table (note: as far as the probability is concerned we do not impeach that some other player could have received an Ace or a King as a hidden card, because there is the same probability that it could have been any other card).

We deduct the cards that we can see on the table from the total of 52 cards, i.e. 52 – (4 + 2) = 46 cards. Now our chance (True Odds) against improving the hand to a Pair is 46:6 = approx. 7.67:1. Therefore it is reasonable to call when our Money to Pot ratio is equal to or higher than 7.67.

If we bet for example $10 and there was $100 in the pot (ratio 10:1) then it would be advantageous for us. But, on the other side, if we bet $50 with the same pot, the potential win would be in the ratio 2:1 only, while the odds against us would be 7.67:1, which would be clearly disadvantageous!

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