Play 5 Card Stud Online – Best Sites, Rules & Strategy

5 card stud has been around since the 1860s and is still widely regarded as one of the more popular poker games even today. There are several iterations of the game, but for the most part, the rules have remained the same.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to play 5 card stud poker. We’re also going to look at the online poker rooms that offer similar games to the popular variant, as well as bonuses they offer and strategies to help you maximize your winnings.

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The Best 5 Card Stud Sites to Play for Real Money

At the time of writing, the popularity of playing 5 card stud online is dwindling, and we were unable to locate the game at any of our usual poker casinos. As such, the list below details the best casinos on the market to play games similar to 5 card stud. We will update accordingly should the game be made available.

  1. BetOnline – Best overall online poker room for playing games like 5 card stud
  2. Bovada – Best for online poker bonuses for new and existing players
  3. Everygame Poker – 200% poker welcome bonus
  4. Ignition – Best Rakeback deals for online poker players
  5. – Huge range of tournaments and freerolls

We’ve included an article on the site that is dedicated to online poker. Make sure you check this out and learn more about these poker rooms for other poker and 5 card stud variations such as Texas hold’em, Omaha, razz, stud, etc.

What is Available at the Best Sites for Games like 5 Card Stud

The table below gives you an overview of how each of the poker rooms works and the games that are on offer. We’ve also added in the poker welcome bonus, which you can claim if you’re registering a new account.

Most of the sites include some sort of existing player promo which you will be eligible to claim if you’ve already got an account.

Poker Room Poker Welcome Bonus Texas Hold’em Omaha Freerolls Min/Max Stakes
BetOnline 100% deposit match up to $1,000 $0.01/ $100NL
Bovada 100% deposit match up to $500 $0.01/ $100NL
Everygame Poker 200% deposit match up to $2,000 $0.01/ $100NL
Ignition Poker 200% deposit match up to $2,000 $0.01/ $100NL 100% deposit match up to $1,000 $0.01/ $100NL

How to Play 5 Card Stud Online

5 card stud is one of the easier poker stud variants to learn. Each player in the hand places an ante bet and is then dealt one card face down and one face up. A round of betting occurs and then this is repeated with 3 more (5 total cards) face-up cards before the hand goes to a showdown.

Ignition - 5 card stud poker

The winner is the player with the highest-ranking hand (we’ve got a section on this later). Let’s take a more in-depth look at how to play 5 card poker.

1)   Ante Bet

The first part of the game starts with an ante bet. All players need to place this bet to signify that they are in the hand. This amount is based on the agreed table limits.

For example, most games will have three bet sizes. Your ante, a small bet, and a big bet. The ante will be the smallest of the three. It might be a $1 ante, $5 small bet, and $10 big bet. To start with, all you need to do is place your ante to get into the hand.

2)   First Two Cards

Once ante bets have been placed, the dealer will then deal one card face down to each player and then another card face-up, so the whole table can see. The player is now able to look at their face-down card and then replace it face-down.

A round of betting takes place. Betting starts with the player with the highest-ranked face-up card. This would run from Ace (high) through to deuce (low). If there are two or more cards of the same value, then it goes on suit running Spade (high), Heart, Diamond, Club (low).

The amount that can be bet on the first round is limited. There is a compulsory bring-in bet which is more than the ante but less than the small bet.

The player with the highest-ranking card gets to choose to check or bet. If they bet, subsequent players can either call, raise or fold. No big bets are allowed on the first round, but players can raise if the initial bettor only places the bring-in bet.

Only one bet and a maximum of three raises are allowed on any betting round.

3)   Next Three Cards Face Up

The game runs out street by street, meaning that one card is dealt and then a round of betting takes place. In total there are three more cards that are dealt, and these are all face up.

A round of betting will occur after each card has been dealt. Again, players are allowed to check, bet, raise or fold based on the action that occurs before them. The player that leads the betting for each round is the one with the strongest face-up hand.

All bets need to be at least as big as the last bet. For example, if a player bets $10 and the next player wants to raise, they must make their raise $10.

Most poker rooms will employ the rule that only big bets are allowed for the last two rounds. This generates bigger pots and is generally more exciting, while also bringing in more strategic decisions that you need to make.

4)   Showdown

Once the final card has been dealt and the final round of betting has taken place, it’s then time for the remaining players to show their hands. It’s worth noting that if one player folds leaving only one player left in the hand, then that player is the winner and they do not need to show their hand.

The face-down card is turned over and the best 5 card hand from the remaining players is deemed the winner.

There are, however, some variations that choose to have the last card dealt face down, meaning that only three cards are face up. These games are rare, but not uncommon, and again add another dimension to the strategy needed to be successful.

Play Free 5 Card Stud Online

When you play a poker game for the first time, there’s going to be a learning curve. It takes time to master and make money from these games.

The reality is that when you’re playing against other opponents and not the “house” you never really master the game. However, you can get better and one of the ways that you can do this is to play the game for free.

Unlike demo casino games, you’re going to have to seek out some sort of free-to-enter poker games. Freerolls are the most obvious place to start with these and while they are rare, they do exist.

There are two key areas to learn when playing 5 card stud poker for free. The first is what starting hands to use based on what your opponent has. We talk more about this in the strategy section, but it’s imperative that you know what hands to bet and what hands to fold.

The second is to learn how your opponents react. 5 card stud online free games will play out differently than real money games, simply for the fact that there is no financial investment, so players generally play looser.

Use your free play time productively as a stepping stone to real money. Learn just a few basic poker principles with this and you’re going to be in a much stronger position when it comes to the real money games.

5 Card Stud Hand Rankings

Hand ranking in 5 card stud is similar to games like Texas hold’em, but there are a few tweaks. If you only learn one thing before playing the game for real money, make sure it’s this.

There aren’t many games where it’s as important to know hand rankings than 5 card stud and that’s because you’re going to be able to see your opponent’s cards (for the most part) as well as your own. You need to compare how they sit and then you can make your play accordingly.

The list below is in order of the lowest-ranked 5 card stud hands (high card) to the highest (Royal flush):

  • High card – The highest card in the deck is Ace and the lowest is 2.
  • One pair – Two cards of the same numerical value. 3-3, 4-4, J-J, etc.
  • Two pair – Two separate one pair hands. 3-3 and 8-8 or T-T and A-A.
  • Three of a kind – Three cards that are all the same rank. 5-5-5 or Q-Q-Q.
  • Straight – Five cards in sequence but from different suits. 3c-4s-5h-6h-7h
  • Flush – Any five cards all from the same suit. 4d-7d-9d-Kd-Ad
  • Full house – Three cards of the same rank and two cards of the same rank. 5-5-6-6-6.
  • Four of a kind – Four cards of the same rank
  • Straight flush – All five cards in rank and of the same suit. 2c-3c-4c-5c-6c
  • Royal flush – Ace, King, Jack, Queen, Ten all the same suit

What are the 5 Card Stud Odds?

Unlike a casino game, there are no odds based solely on the fact of if you will win or not. You’re not playing against the house with 5 card stud but instead, you’re playing against real people at the table.

However, like all poker games, there are 5 card stud odds that will help you become a better player. Learning things like pot odds, for example, is going to allow you to work out when you get a good price to call a bet or when you should fold.

The game is heavily reliant on math and the best players in the world have this locked down. We talk about this a little more in the next section on strategy.

The Best 5 Card Stud Strategy

We want to take you through a couple of processes that will improve your overall gameplay when 5 card stud betting. You can call it strategy if you like, but these are simply things that the best players in the world have learned and then mastered.

Bovada - 5 card stud betting tips

Learn Math

We wanted to follow on from the section above where we talk about odds. Poker is all about odds and you need to realize when a bet offers good value and when to get out.

You don’t need to be a math whiz for this, but even if you apply some basic math to your bets, you’re going to be more profitable in the long run.

A good place to start with this is working out the number of cards you need to hit to improve and the number that’s left in the deck. You’re looking to see what percentage of chance the card you need will come out.

For example, let’s say you’re playing a table of 6 and you get to a point on the turn where you need one more card for a pair. You need to know how many cards are in the deck and how many cards you need to hit.

So, 6 players have been dealt 4 cards each, which makes 24 cards in total. From a 52-card deck, that’s 28 cards left. You need one of three cards left in the deck to make a pair. 3 divide 24 * 100 equals 12.5%. This is the chance you will make your pair.

This is as basic as it gets, but you get the idea of how this works. The higher the probability the more likely that staying in the hand is going to be profitable.

Pay Attention to Player Cards

5 card stud is interesting in that you get to see the majority of your opponent’s cards. You can then gauge what sort of hands they could have and how strong they might be.

It’s also important to do this to see if they hold cards that will improve your hand. For example, if you’ve got two eights and your opponent has to eights, then you know your hand can’t improve to make trips or four of a kind.

You need to be on the ball with this as you’ll have to note players’ hands who fold as well. Just because it’s not currently on show, doesn’t mean it’s not already been dealt and you’ve just missed it.

Don’t Get Too Hung Up on Position

In most forms of poker, position is key. You want to be able to act last as often as you can as it allows you to see how your opponent wants to play their hand which you then control.

In 5 card stud, the person who needs to bet first can change for each round as it’s based on hand strength for up cards. This is going to change potentially for every betting round, which means position is not as important as it might be.

Pairs are Good!

A pair is a strong hand in 5 card stud. It allows you to create a range of hands from this, such as two pairs, three of a kind, four of a kind, and full houses.

The reason why a single pair is so strong is that it has a great chance to win the hand on its own. You see, as you’ve only got five cards to use, straights and flushes are quite rare, especially when you compare it to games like Texas hold’em where you get 7 cards to choose from (2 hole cards and then 5 community cards).

This means that smaller suited connectors aren’t all that powerful. 5 card stud is all about getting to the showdown with a pair or higher and there’s a good chance you’re going to scoop the pot often if you can do that.

Limit Bluffing

Bluffing in 5 card stud is hard because you’re limited to the amount that you can bet. No-limit games mean that you can manipulate a bet size to show strength or weakness. With 5 card stud, you’ve only the option for a big or a small bet.

As you get later in the rounds of betting, all it does is create better pot odds for an opponent to stay in the hand.

For example, if you get down to the fifth street and place a $10 (max) bet into a pot of $150, your opponent is never going to fold here simply because of pot odds. Instead, fold hands that are weak or even require a big draw early and then bet hard when you’ve got made, strong hands.

This links back to our section on pairs being big hands as you can charge top dollar for people who are on draws while you’re ahead.

Top 5 Tips on How to Win at 5 Card Stud

We’ve included a look at what our top five tips are on how to win at 5 card stud. If you use these tips then you’re going to maximize your chances in the game of making money, which is what it’s all about.

ignition - 5 card stud poker tips

1)   Start at Low Limits

If you’re new to the game, start as low as you possibly can, or even better, play some 5 card stud freerolls. This is going to allow you to learn the game at a gentle pace and get used to the processes that come with it.

It’s worth noting that, even though the games are the same, they will play differently at lower limits than mid/high limits. They will be looser, and weaker and they will usually be quite passive. As you move up, these traits will change.

2)   Bankroll Management

One of the more boring, but vital 5 card stud tips is bankroll management. No matter how well you play at any poker game, variance will strike, and you will go on losing runs. Your bankroll should be set up to cope with these losing runs.

There’s no magic number for how much you need as each player is different. As a rule, we like to have at least 50 buy-ins at a level to know we are comfortable. If you only play recreationally, then you can reduce this, but not by too much.

3)   Familiarize yourself with the Numbers

We spoke about this in the strategy section above, but you need to learn those numbers. You don’t need to be amazing at math to have a basic grip on how numbers work. To get better at 5 card poker, you need to know how this works.

4)   Adapt your Strategy to Suit the Table

Unless you play with the same players every day, you’re going to need to adjust your strategy based on how others play. For example, when you come against loose, aggressive players, it’s likely going to be best to play a more conservative game.

The reason for this is that aggressive players will put you under a lot of pressure and in a lot of tough spots. By being more conservative you can play stronger hands against them so when you start to feel the heat, you know you’ve got the goods.

You can flip this for conservative players who suddenly start betting aggressively. This is usually a sign they have it this time and to strongly evaluate your hand.

5)   Keep Learning

Regardless of the poker discipline, there is always learning that can be done around all games. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so popular and why people at the top stay at the top for a long time.

If you look at games like Texas hold’em players such as Daniel Negreanu have made tens of millions over the last 20+ years, but he never stops learning. In fact, he explains that he “practices” more than 50% of his total playing time.

Playing 5 Card Stud on Mobile

5 card stud on mobile apps works relatively well. Most poker rooms have the capacity to host a full table of players on mobile, with good accessibility based on the limited screen size.

We would recommend that you take a little more time over bets and specifically how much you want to bet, as it is a little trickier than playing online.

More on poker…

If you like this article, then you may like some of our other online poker articles currently live on BBI:

Best 5 Card Stud Site in the US

The best 5 card stud sites will allow you to access a good range of games, claim an enticing poker bonus and have a big enough player database to give around-the-clock action. It’s not all that easy to find poker rooms that offer 5 card stud, but there are some great sites that tick a lot of these boxes.

BetOnline comes in as our number one pick for online poker. New accounts can claim a poker bonus worth up to $1,000 that can be cleared by playing any of the poker games in its lobby. Use the link below to set up your new account today!

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Jonathan has been working within the iGaming sector since 2007. After graduating with a BA Hons in Marketing from Northumbria University, he's been able to set up his own online content business, working with some of the biggest brands in the iGaming sector. Outside of work he enjoys any type of sports, especially cricket, golf, football and darts.