How Many Players Can Play Five Card Stud?

Ask anyone what the most popular variant of poker is and the answer you’ll most likely get is Texas Hold’em. But there is another variant of poker that was reigning supreme before it was dethroned by Texas Hold’em and that is the 5 card stud. The five-card stud has its own rules and one of the things people are very curious about is the number of people that can play 5 card stud.

5 card stud can be played by a minimum of two players and a maximum of ten players. All players are given an equal amount of chips at the beginning of the game for placing bets.

5 card stud originated during the American Civil War and is the earliest form of the card game stud poker.

And stud poker encompasses all variants of poker where players receive a mix of face-up and face-down cards which are dealt in multiple betting rounds.

The evolution of other poker variants means 5 card stud isn’t as popular as it used to be. It’s still a good variant of poker to play. Like all variants of poker, 5 card stud has its own rules.

That’s the thing about the different variants of poker. They all have a very different set of rules. At the end of the day, all the variants are still poker since they all share the fundamentals of the game.

Up to 10 players playing 5 card stud.
5 Card Stud can be played even with 10 players. Fixed limit betting assures that the game runs faster than it would with no-limit bets.

Number of players needed to play 5 card stud

As we mentioned in the opening paragraph, you need 2-10 players to play 5 card stud. But before we go deeper into the unique features of the game, let’s dive a bit into history. It’ll make you appreciate this variant of poker called 5 card stud more.

5 card stud was a revolutionary variant of poker when it was first introduced. This is because this game was introduced, all poker variants then were closed games. And this simply means all the cards are unknown. Only players holding the cards can see it. And 5 card stud changed this as the players are dealt cards facing up.

We must also mention that there are no community cards in 5 stud poker. And different play can occur during 5 stud poker as it takes four rounds to complete the game.

Rules of 5 card stud

A standard 52-card deck or a stripped deck that only contains high-value cards are used. The cards are shuffled before the beginning of each hand. Players generally prefer to use a fixed limit betting rule as this makes the game faster. So the game will begin with a small bet and then a big bet.

The size of the small bet would have been determined before the start of the game. And the small bet is usually twice the size of the big bet. The small bet is applicable during the first and second betting rounds. And the big bet is used for the third and fourth round.

The dealer starts the game by drawing individual players a card face-down. This is also referred to as a hole card. Then another card is given to the players again, this time facing up (face-up).


Ante is a forced bet that everyone has to make in any poker variant that features it. And 5 card stud poker has an ante which the players must put into the pot to enter a hand.

You can liken antes to blinds, except that all the players have to make the ante bet. Remember that while blinds are also forced bets, only a number of players at the tables have to make the bet.

The ante is usually very small compared to the big bets, usually around $1 to $5. While the small and big bets are larger.

Each player is dealt one card face down at the beginning of the game. The face down card is usually referred to as the hole card. And the general method of dealing cards is to start in a clockwise direction. After that, cards will be dealt again, this time facing up. The same clockwise direction is again used to deal with the cards.

example of 5 card stud hand.
There are 2 popular versions of 5 card stud. In the very first games you would receive 1down card and 4 up cards (1-4). Later the version with 1-3-1 (1 down card, followed by 3 up cards and finished with 1 down card) also became popular.

First betting round

After all the players have two cards – one face up and another face down -, the first betting round begins.

There is always the question of who is to start the betting rounds. It’s quite simple, the player with the best hand is to start any betting round.

Now, you might be wondering what’s going to happen if two or more players have the same hand. No worries, there’s a rule for this scenario. When two or more players have hands of similar rankings, suit value will be used to decide the player with the highest-ranking cards.

Spades have the highest ranking followed by hearts, then diamonds, and lastly clubs which are the lowest ranking cards. Players may also have to make compulsory minimum bets, called the bring-in bet, during the first betting round.

The bring-bet is different from the ante and is also usually more than the ante. If the ante is $1, the bring-in bet could be $5. The player starting the game (obviously the one with the best hand), will have to place a small bet or at least the compulsory bring-in bet. It is only after the small bet has been placed that a player can raise.

There are situations where the first betting round starts with the lowest hand placing betting first. If the game you are playing doesn’t have a bring-in bet, then betting begins after the first small bets have been placed.

We should also mention that you cannot place big bets in the first round. And only bet (excluding the bring-in) and maximum raises of three are allowed in any betting round.

Third Street – An open card

After all the betting action of the first round comes to a close, the dealers will deal another card (the third) to all the players. The dealer has to begin with a burn card. A burn card is a playing card dealt from the top of a deck, and discarded, unused by the players. Burn cards are usually not shown to the players.

The same dealing procedure as above takes place here. And the third card to be dealt to the players is called the third street.

Second betting round

After each player has been dealt three cards, the second betting round can now begin. The order of betting is that the player with the best upcards will be the one to bet first. If two or more players have upcards of similar rankings, then the suits will be used to determine who has the best cards. Any player who acts first will be given the option to check. This means he can pass the option to the next player on his/her left without making any wager.

Only big bets can be placed in this round if any of the players can come up with a pair. And if this happens, the remaining players will also have to place big bets or raise. The size of the raise us usually equal to the amount of the last bet or raise. Only big raises will be allowed in rounds where big bets are utilized.

Fourth Street and Third betting round

Another card will be dealt with all the players after the second betting round comes to an end. This means all the players will have four cards each at this stage. Then the third betting round can take place. The structure of 5 card stud in casinos is such that only big bets can be placed in the third and fourth betting rounds.

How To Play 5 Card Stud The Correct Way.

Fifth Street and Fourth betting round

The fifth and final card is dealt at this stage using the usual clockwise direction to deal the cards. The last and fourth betting round then takes place.


After all the betting rounds have taken place, players remaining in the game will open their hole cards and the player with the best hand is declared the winner.

And these are the rules of 5 card stud whether you are playing in a casino, online, or at home with your friends and families.

Poker Hands In 5 card stud

Let’s take a look at the hands and rankings used in 5 card stud. Hands are used in the game to determine the winner as well as the player who will take action first in each betting round.

Standard poker hand rules are used in 5 card stud and some examples will be given below

Royal Flush – You are said to have a royal flush hand when you have A, K, Q, J and 10 of the same suit. It is the strongest hand in poker.

Straight Flush – A straight flush is a poker hand that had 5 cards of the same suit. These cards must be in a sequence. For example, having 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 in a sequence with all of them having spades as suits.

Four of a kind – A poker hand is said to be four of a kind if it has four out of five cards of the same rank. E.g., ♠️4, ♣️4, ♥️4, ♦️4, and ♣️10.

Full house – In a full house hand, there are three cards of the same rank. Then, the remaining two cards make a pair. Take ♣️5, ♥️5, ♦️5, ♠️10, and ♦️10 for example.

Flush – Any poker hand that has five cards of the same suit is a flush. It must be said that these cards are not in a sequence. For example, ♣️2, ♣️5, ♣️10, ♣️K, and ♣️A.

Straight – A flush hand is pretty straightforward as it contains five cards in a sequence. However, all five cards must not have the same suit. E.g ♣️5, ♥️6, ♦️7, ♥️8, and ♠️9.

Three of a kind – This poker has three cards that belong to the same rank. The other two cards in the hand are always not the same. For example, ♥️7, ♦️7, ♠️7, ♥️K, and ♥️Q.

Two pairs – Any hand that has two pair of hands is said to be ‘Two Pairs’. Take, for example, ♥️A, ♠️A, ♥️10, ♦️10, and ♦️K.

5 card stud vs 5 card draw

We’ve seen poker players, especially beginners, confusing 5 card stud with 5 card draw when they are different games with very different sets of rules (just check YouTube and you will see plenty of wrongly titled videos). Perhaps the ‘5 card’ that’s in both of their names contribute to this confusion. It could also be due to not having adequate knowledge of the two variants of poker to know they are not the same. Either way, you’ll learn enough about 5 card draw here so you’ll needer confuse it with 5 card stud ever again.

The main difference between the two is that each player receives all five cards at the beginning of the game in 5 card draw. This is in contrast to 5 card stud where players start with two cards while the remaining are dealt to the players in subsequent betting rounds.

Also, 5 card draw players have the option to replace their cards as they strive to come up with a better hand. This is one of the basic differences between the two variants of poker. There are also differences in the gameplay of the two and this requires players to approach 5 card stud and 5 card draw with different strategies.

To know more about both games and how they compare and are different from each other, read this article: 5 Card Draw vs. 5 Card Stud: What’s the Difference.

A little history of 5 card draw

We are a sucker for history and would like to tell you a bit about 5 card draw. The 5 card draw is one of the oldest variations of poker you’ll ever encounter. The game used to be very popular in Europe and the United States in the 17th century and 18th century respectively.

5 card poker is fairly easy to learn and master. But winning the game is a different matter as your strategy has to be spot then. And it’d be nice to also have Lady Luck smile on you.

Rules of 5 card draw

How To Play 5 Card Draw (Poker).

This is another aspect where 5 card stud and 5 card draw differ. In 5 card draw, a minimum of two and a maximum of six players are required to play. Compare that to 5 card stud where two to ten players can play the game. However, we’ll recommend that at least three players play 5 card draw. This is to increase the action at the table and make things more interesting.

The standard 52-card deck is also used for 5 card draw and there is an ante that all players must pay before the game starts. The ante is usually predetermined before the game begins. When the game progresses to the second round, the ante becomes twice the amount of the initial bet. Let’s assume everyone at the tables agree to an initial bet of $10, the ante in the second round will be $20.

If you are playing at home, you can decide to rotate the dealer or use the same person as a dealer if he/she is really good at dealing cards.

If you want more advice on how to play your poker game without a dealer, be sure to read this article.

The small blind is always the player on the left side of the dealer while the big blind will be anyone on the left side of the small blind.

Players get to check their cards before placing bets. This is to make them know the strength of their cards before making their moves. After making their moves, players will now be given a chance to discard any three of their five cards. A player could discard less than three if he/she so desires.

The discarded cards will be replaced with new ones. The aim of discarding the cards and getting new ones is to come up with a better hand. A player might not even consider discarding his/her cards if he/she is satisfied with the initial cards.