Intermediate Strategy

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All poker is about betting on your cards and 5 Card Stud poker is no different. Although the game is simple and there is much less opportunity to bluff there is still plenty that you can do to stay ahead of your opponents.

Before opening up with your betting you should always have a good starting hand. Don’t bet first with a mediocre hand in the hope that you will pick something up on 3rd street. If you do have a good hand then play fast, that is raise the bet and don’t just call. Although it may be tempting to wait things out and draw others into the pot there is always a chance that they will draw a hand that beats yours along the way.

If on 3rd street you hit a triple you have two ways of playing things depending on the way your opponents are playing. Three of a kind is a very strong hand and likely to take the pot so if you can’t see anything better showing on the board you should raise and keep raising. Your opponents can see that you have a two pair on your showing cards so they know you have a at least a pair and if they don’t draw something good on 4th street they are going to fold out anyway. You might as well get what you can while they are still in the pot.

On the other hand if you can see a potential triple that could beat yours take things a little easier and see what happens on 4th and 5th street. If they are still playing cautious on 4th street then it is likely that they missed the hand they were trying for and you have got them beat.

A good idea in 5 Card Stud is to occasionally get caught bluffing. This will serve to prevent your opponents assuming that you only play strong hands and they will be more willing to take you on when they are only holding weaker hands. Don’t forget, bluffing works both ways. You can bluff that your hand is stronger than it is, but it is even better to bluff your opponents into thinking they can beat you when they can’t.

How you opponents are betting is also very important. Some players will always call every bet to get to 5th street. If you come across such a loose player then keep raising on 3rd and 4th. You know that they will just keep coming and if they aren’t showing anything threatening in their face cards you will clean up.

As a general rule the stronger your hand the faster you should play it with each progressive round. This is because the strongest hand in each round is usually the strongest hand in the next round too. Try and calculate the strongest hand your opponents can be holding with their facing cards. The less hands they can have that will beat yours the looser you should play, that is raise as often as you can. In the long run you will win more than you will lose.