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5 Card Draw



5-Card Stud is the classic poker game, and it continues to be one of the favourites in home games around the world.

The game itself is fairly easy to learn. Players are dealt one face down "Hole Card", and a face up "Door Card" followed by the first betting round. The dealer then deals to each player 1 more face up card followed by the second betting round. Two more rounds of 1 face up card dealt followed by a betting round take place. Once all bets are in for the fourth betting round, the showdown takes place and the player with the highest 5-card hand takes the pot.

There are a few key concepts you should know about for 5-Card Stud. The first we'll talk about is the antes...

Game Basics


At the beginning of every hand, each player must contribute a small bet called the ante. Antes are used as an incentive for players to play the hand, and build the pot.

The Stakes:

In the main lobby table list you may have noticed a "stakes" column. For each 5-Card Stud game, the stakes dictate the bet and raise amount for each round of betting. The lower number is used for the first two rounds, and the higher number for the last two.

Let's use a $5/$10 stakes example. In the first two rounds of betting, both the bet and the raise must be $5, no more, no less. The last 2 rounds have a bet/raise amount of $10.

The Cap:

In 5-card stud, each round of betting can consist of one bet and has a maximum of three of allowable raises, known as the cap. So, if a bet is made, that bet can only be raised three times, after which all players must call, or fold. However, if only two players remain in the hand the cap is increased to a maximum of five raises.

So you want to play some 5-Card Stud. You've chosen your stakes and taken a seat at the table. What now?

Ante Up! All players must ante. If you wanna to play, you gotta pay.

The Pocket and Door:

Dealer deals each player in turn one face down card (the pocket), then a face-up card (the door.) After this, the first betting round, beginning with the bring-in.

The Bring In:

The player with the lowest showing door card must post "the bring-in", a mandatory initial bet of usually half the smaller stake amount. The bring-in player has the option to increase this bet to the full small stake.

If two players are showing the same door card, we'll use the suit rankings to decide which card is weakest. The ranks of the suits are (strongest to weakest): Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs.

The bring-in's purpose is much like the ante's; to encourage players to stay in a hand, and build the pot.

To stay in the game, all players must call, raise or fold to the bring-in bet. Betting begins to the bring-in player's left, and continues clockwise. If the bring-in opens with half the low stake, the first raise will "complete" the bring-in, raising it to the lower stake limit. Any raises after that must be the lower stake amount.

So, at our $5/$10 table, if a player brings-in with $2, and you want to raise him, you must raise $3, completing the bring-in. Now, any player that raises after you must raise $5.

Third Street:

After the first round of bets have all been called, each player is dealt another face up card, called "Third Street." Now, the highest showing hand opens the betting round. If a pair is showing for any hand on Third Street, that player has the option of doubling his(or her) bet amount, and "raising the stake" for this betting round. Otherwise, Third Street bets and raises are limited to the small stake.

So, let's say we're in our $5/$10 game, and your facing cards show a pair. You now have the option of doubling the bet to $10, and if you do, any subsequent raises have to be the upper stake limit of $10. If you choose not to double up, the bet/raise amount stays at $5 for this round.

Fourth Street Introduction:

Another face up card is dealt to each player, and high hand opens the betting round. For these last two rounds, the bet amount is now the higher stake ($10 in our $5/$10 game).

The River:

The fourth and final face up card is dealt to each player, making a total of 5 cards. Now the final betting round begins, and as before, the highest showing hand starts the betting. The River bets are still limited to the upper stake. ($10 in our $5/$10 game.)

The Showdown: OK, now all the bets have been called, and it's time to see who wins. The last player to bet or raise during the final betting round (the river) will show their hand first. If all the players checked through (nobody bet), the player to the left of the dealer will show first. The remaining players' hands will be automatically revealed moving clockwise, unless a hand is weaker than the winning hand shown. In this case, you'll have the option to show, or muck (fold without showing). The best 5-card hand takes the pot. For a complete list of hand rankings, please consult the Hand Rankings page.

Buying the pot:

If during a betting round you make a bet and all players fold to you, you've bought the pot. You have the option to show or muck your cards.

Best possible hand: