Beginners Strategy


Although 5 Card Stud is one of the simplest forms of poker that doesn’t mean that it is all down to luck. Understanding your hand and how to play it is a skill in every form of poker and 5 Card Stud is no exception.

The first decision you have to make in each round is whether or not to play your opening hand. 5 Card Stud is a game in which high cards and pairs are the most common winners. If you have either or these then keep going to the next round on 3rd street. If you don’t have a pair but both of your cards beat the cards showing on the board then you have a hand that can be take to the next round.

A high card is a ten or higher, and if you aren’t holding a pair then your high card should at least beat everything else that is showing around the table. If not, get out while you can without losing any chips.

Alternatively, if you high card is showing but your pocket card is also a high card then keep going. An example would be an ace or king showing with a ten or jack as your pocket card.

You should not try and chase a straight or flush all the way to the final round on 5th street. Although you may make your hand on occasions most of the time you will end up with nothing and be beaten by a simple pair. Even if you do have a high card by the time you have seen 3rd street you should be holding at least a pair. If you aren’t then it is time to fold and cut your losses.

Keep an eye on your opponents showing cards and remember them even if they fold. The number of live cards, that is cards still in the pack that could help your hand, or your opponents, is an important consideration. The more live cards for your hand there are the better for you, and the more that could help your opponents the better for them.

If you notice cards that an opponent needs in someone else’s showing cards then you know they haven’t got what they are looking for and are not going to draw it either.

Also if your hand is beaten by cards showing in an opponents showing cards then fold out unless the hand you are drawing for would be unbeatable. Even then this is not something to be tried often because the odds are against you pulling it off.

In particular watch out for an opponent who pairs up his opening door card. This can often mean he is now holding three of a kind so unless you can beat that you are not going to get the pot.

Finally, observe how you opponents play their game. Do they play cautiously or do they keep chasing hands all the way to 5th street? A player who keeps going to 5th street is playing too many hands and will most likely be beaten by a reasonable hand when you have one.